Reaching people with science communication

Next submission deadline: 01.12.2021

Under the programmatic heading of «Scientainment», Gebert Rüf Stiftung has since 2013 provided resources to promote innovative model projects for low-threshold science communication. The underlying aim is to encourage new formats and to stimulate discussion about forms of contemporary science communication. An annual funding budget of CHF 1.5 million is available for this area of activity.

Objectives: science communication in the public relations trap

With the long-term funding programme, Gebert Rüf Stiftung aims to encourage science communicators, associations and institutions from the fields of education, research and culture to test new approaches, forms and models of low-threshold science communication that succeed in addressing particularly hard-to-reach target groups with content from science, research and innovation.

Reaching people

For Switzerland as a knowledge location, science communication that reaches as many people as possible is becoming increasingly important. This is because it creates the necessary legitimacy for 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, science must be communicated in a more attractive, entertaining and original way. If the BFI sector, as a priority political area, is to remain capable of gaining majority support in the long term, science communication that simultaneously creates trust and has a broad impact is of central importance. It secures the country's prosperity through public funding of Switzerland as a centre of knowledge.

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: In addition to the appropriate transfer of content, importance is attached to target group-specific preparation. 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 indirect connection to the BFI area.

Model project «Science Podcast»

Together with its media partner Blick, Gebert Rüf Stiftung is launching the weekly science podcast «Durchblick – Wissen auf Wunsch» as a new funding priority. Nicolas Leuenberger and Amila Redzic take questions from Blick readers, conduct in-depth research and bring their listeners the most astonishing insights from their conversations with researchers. The first episode went online on 31 March.

Support criteria

  • The project is innovative and communicates relevant knowledge from research and innovation in an entertaining way;
  • Topics and formats are aimed at hard-to-reach target groups or schools in Switzerland that are not science-oriented;
  • The communication channels are chosen in such a way that the project reaches a broad audience.
  • The project is scalable and achieves a significant impact in terms of raising awareness of science and innovation issues;
  • 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 scientainment

Picture Credits Header

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