Professor Mike S. Schäfer holds a chair for science, crisis and risk communication at the University of Zurich. His research focuses on public debates and media coverage around science-related issues. For topics like climate change, biotechnology, nuclear energy, particle physics and others, he has analyzed how stakeholders try to position themselves publicly, how journalists select and present them, how users come in contact with science and the effects that this communication has, from knowledge acquisition over attitudinal and behavioral change all the way to trust in science, scientific institutions and individual scientists. In recent years, Mike has focused on online and social media communication and questions of fragmentation and polarization of online public spheres around science, the prevalence and impact of social bots and the diffusion of information. He has published widely on these issues, including several encyclopedias and handbooks he co-edited such as the “Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication” (Oxford UP, 2018, the “Forschungsfeld Wissenschaftskommunikation” (Springer, 2018) or the “Forschungsfeld Hochschulkommunikation” (Springer, 2019).
Mike also leads the “Science Barometer Switzerland”, a longitudinal survey project assessing the Swiss’ attitudes towards science and research as well as their sources of information. He is the director of Zurich’s Center for Higher Education and Science Studies (CHESS) and president of the AGORA program of the Swiss National Science Foundation, which promotes and funds science communication projects.