Humboldt Communication Lab

ComLab#7: The Next Big Bang – New Frontiers in Exploring Life

Digital Communication Lab for Exchange between Research and Communication on 11 – 13 May 2023

Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild

Humboldt Communication Lab

A conversation between science and the media: twice a year, ten Humboldt Fellows and ten early-career journalists get together with the aim of learning from one another.

ComLab at a glance
Preliminary Programme ComLab#7 (PDF, 187 KB)
Report on the ComLab#7 results

With new space missions and fast developments in bioengineering, ComLab#7 explored the research that fuelled our expectations in 2023. What are the new frontiers in research and how can or should scientists and journalists tell the story of the next big bang that is already fundamentally happening but has not yet arrived in everyday reality? At the same time: How much news value should we ascribe to risky or early research? Can too much attention at an early stage harm further developments, especially in terms of public acceptance? In addition, there are ethical and social issues to consider, especially when we deal with disruptive research and technologies.

With the seventh ComLab we looked at the next scientific revelations whilst also considering the underlying cultural norms that affect how new research is implemented and perceived in different countries.

Key Questions:

  • What are the next big trends and topics in science in 2023?
  • How to communicate cutting-edge research in a clear and comprehensible way?
  • What might be the social and ethical implications of new frontiers in research – from the exploration of space to progress in the field of bioengineering and drug production or AI-based innovation?
  • How do different cultural perspectives and religion influence our understanding of ground-breaking discoveries?
  • To what extent is the visibility of new research determined by inequality of opportunity – especially regarding differences between the Global North and the Global South?


Collage Speaker ComLab 7
from left to right, first row: Vito Cecere (Federal Foreign Office), Annegret Burkert (Science Media Center Germany), Mohammed Yahia (Nature), Zulfikar Abbany (Deutsche Welle)
second row: Liliann Fischer (Science in Dialogue), Dr Jens Radü (DER SPIEGEL), Clive Cookson (Financial Times), Dr Markus Kissler-Patig (European Space Agency, ESA)


Collage Teilnehmende
(in alphabetical order)
Humboldtians: Dr Huanyu Cheng (Penn State University), Dr Raktim Haldar (Leibniz University Hannover), Dr Giulio Isacchini (UC Berkeley and University of Leipzig), Dr Melissa Johnston (University of Tübingen), Dr Patricia Jovicevic-Klug (Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung), Dr Sophie Korn (Goethe University Frankfurt / Stanford University), Dr Riccardo Marin (University of Tübingen), Dr Uira Melo (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics), Durga Mohanakrishnan (German Committee for Disaster Risk Reduction, DKKV), Sonakshi Saluja (Reiner Lemoine Institute, RLI), Dr Rafael Segura (Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology), Dr Laure-Anne Poissonnier (University of Regensburg)
IJP Alumni/Journalists: Chitraddeepa Anantharam (The Hindu), Edite Brikmane (LVportals), Melanie Hall (Deutsche Welle), Krista Hessey (Global News), Karelia Llanos (Excélsior), Mohammed Magdy (Al-Shorouk Newspaper), Chinsisi Moyo (Capitol Radio), Lily Nababan (Estubizi Network), Zuza Nazaruk (freelancer), Chimwemwe Padatha (Zodiak Broadcasting Station/Deutsche Welle), Anuradha Sharma (Newsreeal Asia)

The programme is financed by