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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.

Communication Lab for Exchange between Research and Media

Twice a year, ten Humboldt Fellows meet up with ten early-career journalists from around the world. The ten journalists are selected by the International Journalists’ Programmes organisation (IJP e.V.) In teams of two they work on a piece of journalism during the course of a three- to four-day workshop. Highly qualified mentors supervise the process. During these workshops, participants discuss what they expect from one another, how close cooperation works, and what constitutes good research communication.

  • Join the ComLab network and be part of a specialist community of science communicators. 
  • Share ideas with fellow scientists and journalists from all over the world. 
  • Discuss current global issues with international experts in politics and civil society. 
  • Learn innovative storytelling techniques from excellent trainers and mentors.
  • Work on a compelling piece of science communication based on your own research.

Events and results

In order to enable as many people as possible to access current research findings and enhance their understanding of the way scientists are working during the Corona crisis, effective, well-researched journalism is essential. The first Communication Lab thus focused on the Corona pandemic. The award-winning articles included a biographical reportage on the occupation of a virologist, a children’s book on the way bacteria work, and a reportage on the dangers of zoonoses.

Climate change is a particular challenge for people all over the world and thus for science communicators, too. The second round of the Communication Lab therefore addressed the European Green Deal and the issues involved in successfully communicating climate change and its impacts. The award-winning projects dealt with the loss of biodiversity, the effects of climate change on indigenous communities and traditional ways of life as well as the role of permafrost in global warming.

Sustainable change also means social change. The third Communication Lab therefore addresses the tension between sustainability and social justice; the potential of sustainable innovations and the conflicting goals that (can) ensue in the Global North and the Global South. Science and journalism can help to highlight the social interactions inherent in sustainable transformation. They are also multipliers for forward-looking ideas and best-practice examples of sustainable development.

Artificial intelligence, robotics and new digital technologies are changing our lives. To which extent, benefit or at which cost is often hard to grasp for regulators, civil society and media. While transformative technologies hold great potential in medicine, industry, logistics or urban planning, there are hardly any other scientific fields that spark so much speculation.  From automated mobility to biorobots and intelligent implants: The relationship between humans and machines is characterised by promise, but also by misunderstanding and ignorance.



ComLab#4 will take place in November 2021.

Being a participant of the last ComLab was a very rewarding experience. It taught me, among other things, how to convey my research to a broad and diverse audience.
Eduardo Queiroz Alves, Humboldtian, geochemist and science communicator about ComLab#2

The programme is financed by