Thesis defence in the University of Oulu

Doctoral Candidate

Master of Arts Kaisu Koivumäki

Faculty and research unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Humanities, Research Unit for History, Culture and Communications

Field of study

Science Communication

Date and time of the thesis defence

19.2.2021 14:00

Place of the thesis defence

Remote access:

Topic of the dissertation

Fragmented Science Communication. Mapping the contemporary challenges of organizational science communication


Professor John C. Besley, Michigan State University


Professor Erkki Karvonen, University of Oulu

Insights into the contemporary challenges of organizational science communication

Although an increasing amount of science communication is being conducted within and from organizational settings, research on science communication in the organizational contexts is limited. Underexplored research areas include the internal relationships and the collaboration between communication professionals and researchers, who together constitute organizational science communication. Against this backdrop, the field’s scholars have recently suggested an ‘organizational turn’ in science communication research with a more scholarly emphasis on strategic communication and management of science-related communication from, about, and within research organizations.

This qualitative interview study presents an empirically driven analysis that increases understanding of the ways different orientations to strategic thinking appear in the contemporary challenges of organizational science communication in general, and particularly in the researchers’ and communication professionals’ perspectives on digital science communication. The conceptual framework of the study builds upon theories related to the research field of public communication of science and technology (PCST).

The thesis consists of three studies in one context, involving an inter-organizational BCDC Energy Research project (2015–2021), based at five different academic organizations in Finland. The studies present an analysis of semi-structured face-to-face interviews with researchers (n=17) and communication professionals (n=15), with the help of thematic analysis and Scandinavian institutionalism as analytical frameworks.

The study provides novel insight into the contemporary challenges of organizational science communication and new knowledge on how different strategic orientations appear unevenly in research organizations; the influences of the funding system on the practical execution of science communication; and the potential to develop organizational capacity for strategic science communication as community goals to enhance the collective impact.



Last updated: 9.2.2021