Reaching people with science communication

Next submission deadline: 01.05.2024

«Scientainment» promotes innovative model projects of low-threshold science communication that succeeds in reaching the general public. With an annual budget of CHF 2 million, Gebert Rüf Stiftung supports new formats and thus aims to contribute to strengthening scientific literacy in Switzerland.

Objective: Promoting science communication beyond PR

Science communication is successful when it appears authentic and is not overshaped by PR interests. With the long-term funding program, Gebert Rüf Stiftung aims to encourage since 2013 science communicators from the fields of education, research and culture who want to use new and low-threshold approaches to address as broad an audience as possible with content from science, economy and society.

Reaching people

For Switzerland as a knowledge location, science communication that reaches as many people as possible is becoming increasingly important. For it creates the prerequisite for understanding the scientific way of thinking and working, for the productive participation of the broad population in social life and thus for the long-term securing of the main sources of Swiss prosperity: education, research and innovation (ERI).

It is therefore a central key task of the knowledge society to bring as many people as possible into the future at all stages of the value chain. For this to succeed, natural, social and cultural sciences must be communicated in a more attractive, entertaining and original way.

Scientainment as formula

Scientainment is a low-threshold way of communicating about education, research and innovation which intelligently combines entertainment with the imparting of knowledge. Scientainment projects combine «science» and «entertainment» with relevant topics, attractive formats and strong channels. Only when the personal connection to science is established, when the magic, the mysterious and the joy of discovery become tangible, can people be reached who have no direct or only an indirect connection to the BFI area.

Support criteria

  • The project is innovative and conveys relevant knowledge from sciences, economy and society (including political education) in an entertaining way;
  • Topics and formats are aimed at the general public;
  • The communication channels and media partnership are chosen so that the project reaches the widest possible audience;
  • The project is scalable and raises the target groups' awareness of scientifically based topics from all areas of life (science, economy, society);
  • The project will be designed and implemented by a team that is as interdisciplinary as possible, combining science and other areas (such as sport, popular culture, new media).

Funding will not be given to events and projects involving marketing or institutional communication activities or research on science communication.

Submission of projects

Projects may be submitted to Gebert Rüf Stiftung by one of the quarterly deadlines (1 February, 1 May, 1 September, 1 December) in accordance with the general requirements. The submission procedure has two stages.

Use our web portal to submit your project and upload all the required documents as described in the following guidelines. 

Project evaluation

Projects for the «Scientainment» area of activity may be submitted at any time. For ongoing calls for projects the selection process lasts approximately six months, from submission of the project proposal (step one) to the decision on the project application (step two). The board of trustees reaches the grant-making decision at its quarterly plenary meeting on the basis of the support criteria and the strategic objectives of the area of activity. In exceptional cases, the project application can be approved directly after the first submission.

There is no procedure for appeals or applications for re-examination or reconsideration; no correspondence will be entered into regarding grant-making decisions.

Approved projects can find more information on the support agreement, reporting and project communications here.

Approved projects scientainment

#ScienceScenes: When Cinema goes Science Communication

Movies offer wonderful entertainment, but they are rarely used for science communication. The «Science Scenes» are an attempt to change this. Under the hashtag #ScienceScenes, Swiss scientists talk about their favourite film scene that means «science» to them. The new Scientainment format is designed as an open discussion programme. It will be launched on the occasion of ScienceComm23.

NEW: Innovation fund for multimedia science journalism

As a separate focus of the Scientainment programme, GRS promotes multimedia science journalism with the newly created innovation fund. The aim is to structurally establish multimedia formats in Swiss science journalism. The fund is endowed with half a million Swiss francs. Swiss media professionals who deal with socially relevant topics in the field of science, innovation and technology can apply for a grant from GRS for the first time as of 1 September 2023 if they form a team with in-house or external designers and programmers. Further information can be found here.

Picture Credits Header

Picture from the journal «Scientainment», February 2015, Christoph Läser Photograph AG Basel