What about the self-image of science in times of “fake news” and “fake science”? Two days before the UNESCO World Science Day for Peace and Development 2019, we spoke with Prof Dr Lisa Fröhlich, CBS President, spokeswoman for the Cologne Science Round (“Kölner Wissenschaftsrunde”) and the PRME Chapter DACH, about the role and responsibility of science.
CBS: The UNESCO Memorial Day is intended to commemorate the contribution of science to peace and development. How do scientists contribute to these fields?
Prof Dr Lisa Fröhlich: Scientists have always been responsible for informing the public about the latest developments and for including them in current debates. They contribute to broadening our understanding of the planet and in making our societies more sustainable. I believe that it is important that scientist keep on providing evidence-based solutions to the issues of our time.
CBS: What role should science play in the post-truth age?
Prof Dr Lisa Fröhlich: Each of us is confronted with a mass of unfiltered information every day. What information is a fact? And what information an “alternative fact”? Our scientists need to take action in these debates by clarifying and classifying facts. We must not give way to science sceptics, but must explain the relevance of a free science. My esteemed colleague Ingvill Mochmann, Head of EUROLAB at GESIS and Professor for International Politics at CBS, once summed it up: “Science does not only mean gaining knowledge, but also using it in the sense of a peaceful, sustainable and just world”.
CBS: What makes Cologne a popular science location for you as President of the Cologne Science Round?
Prof Dr Lisa Fröhlich: Cologne’s scientific landscape is impressive because of its diversity. Top research takes place at 19 universities and 12 research institutions here- from aeronautics and space travel to plant sciences and ageing research. We want to make this potential more visible and promote cooperation between the institutions within the “Cologne Science Round”. Moreover, we would like to inspire international knowledge scientists for Cologne’s research opportunities.
CBS: What future issues are being researched at the CBS?
Prof Dr Lisa Fröhlich: We focus on sustainable management and digitization at the core of our research work and developed the concept of “Corporate Digital Responsibility”. Our scientists are currently working in five clusters: “Business Transformation”, “Entrepreneurship & Innovation”, “Leadership, People & Organization”, “Financial Markets & Rising Economies” and “Education & Methods”. We will focus more strongly on the “Education & Methods” research cluster in the next months, as we intend to introduce further “Bachelor of Science” and “Master of Science” study programmes. We will implement integrated curricula for sustainable management and digitization and develop new methods for research and teaching.
CBS: How do you support your young scientists?
Prof Dr Lisa Fröhlich: Our students are involved in our research projects right from the start – either through paper summaries or publications with our scientists from the Center for Advanced Sustainable Management (CASM). Our young scientists also work as lecturers and support us to transfer scientific research into teaching.
CBS: Thank you very much for the interview!