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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB)

Workshop: "Science, Policy, and the Media"

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Detalls de l'event

ICTA-UAB will host the workshop "Science, Policy, and the Media: working together to tackle disinformation in environmental policy". The event is organised by Leticia Santos de Lima with the support of the María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence programme.


Workshop: "Science, Policy, and the Media: working together to tackle disinformation in environmental policy"


Date: Monday and Tuesday 11-12 March 2024
Time: From 9AM to 5PM
Venue: Sala Polivalent. Parc de Recerca (Edifici Eureka- UAB)

Link for registrations: https://forms.office.com/e/uHFkDQVA9t


Disinformation and its impacts on environmental policies have been a central issue worldwide in recent decades. While uncertainty and open debates are a fundamental part of science, ill-intended low-quality information and biased narratives disrupt healthy debates and the design of adequate policies. To debate this issue and cross-fertilize potential ways to cope with disinformation we will gather three groups of fundamental importance on this matter: scientists, journalists, and policymakers. Through a 2-days workshop, we aim to explore the potential to counteract disinformation that each of these three groups have and how each group, with its own agenda of interests, pressures, and demands contributes indirectly to and, at the same time, has potential to counteract disinformation production, dissemination and its impacts on policy making. Moreover, we want to explore the synergies through which these three groups can work together to tackle this issue in a pragmatic manner. The workshop is designed to be a kick-off debate and to prompt potential further activities via connecting different actors, identifying existing initiatives, and creating new combined strategies.


  • Vitalba Crivello - Policy Expert, EU Science-Media Hub, European Parliament
  • Marc Vilahur Chiaraviglio - General Director for Environmental Policies · Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Thiago Medaglia - Founder & Chief Editor, Ambiental Media 
  • Victoria Reyes-García - ICREA Professor, ICTA-UAB
  • Mario Giampietro - ICREA Professor, Policy Scientist, ICTA-UAB
  • Claudio Angelo - Head of Communications, Observatório do Clima, Brazil
  • Michele Catanzaro - Science Journalist & Lecturer Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Nereida Carrillo - Journalist, Lecturer at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, "Learn to Check" Manager
  • Marc MassipScience Communicator & Trainer, Science Fact-Checking Expert Verificat
  • Raoni Rajão - Professor of Environmental Management, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Currently Director of Deforestation Control Policies at Brazilian Ministry of Environment.
  • Zora Kovacic - Ramón & Cajal Researcher, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya 

    (Speaker's Biography below)


Guiding questions

  1. How does disinformation pave its way to influence the policymaking processes on environmental matters? What are the lessons learnt from past examples?
  2. What are the potential strategies involving scientists, journalists, and policy makers that can be created or boosted to counteract the effects of disinformation?

Societal relevance

Human-environmental systems are deeply complex and so are the solutions for the environmental problems we face nowadays. With escalating global environmental change, together with the vast diversity of information sources in our digital era, it becomes a challenge to separate high-quality information from poor-quality information as well as to identify and to combat ill-intentioned sources. Behind so much disinformation lie numerous interest groups with their own agenda and strategies to reach the public and to influence the decision-making arenas. The impacts of disinformation on environmental policies have been clearly reported in the literature, for instance, in the case of climate change denialism in the USA (Oreskes & Conway 2010), and the dismantling of the Brazilian Forest Code (Rajão et al. 2020). Both cases show how powerful corporations and their allies can create a false sense of dissent or controversy in science in order to cast doubt on urgent matters via feeding the public opinion and policymakers with biased information in order to delay important steps to mitigate global crises, such as climate change. It is about time for scientists, journalists, and policymakers to question themselves about what their roles are in perpetuating the effects of disinformation in society (actively or by omission), and how we can work together to deconstruct biased narratives to better support decisions on public matters.

Potential participants

We welcome:

  • Scientists working with environmental science and policy
  • Journalists covering environmental issues with policy relevance
  • Government representatives and staff members working on environmental policies
  • Government officers working on implementing local/state environmental policies
  • Philosophers or historians of science working at the science-policy interface
  • Experts in science communication and science-policy advisors.


Number of attendees: Max. 25 participants
Deadline to submit applications: 10th February 2024
Final list of participants: 12th February 2024

Venue: ICTA-UAB (Sala Montseny). Address: Edifici ICTA-ICP, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, 08193, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona

Time-schedule: Date: 11-12 March 2024, from 9 am to 5 pm, with coffee and lunch breaks

Logistic details

  • The workshop will be held at ICTA-UAB, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, campus Bellaterra, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Participation is free of charge and food will be provided during the workshop.
  • Participants must secure their own funds for travelling and accommodation.
  • This workshop will be composed of talks, presentations of case studies, hands-on exercises, group work, and debates.
  • We aim to bring together a diverse group of 25 proactive participants, ranging from scientists, philosophers and historians of science, journalists, science communicators, and government representatives and officers.
  • We are committed to strive for a good balance between participants of diverse genders, origins, and professional background to have a vibrant and prolific 2-days event. In case applications surpass the number of available spots, we will prioritize this balance and the profiles that most suit the aims of the workshop.

Expected Outputs

  1. a workshop report identifying key initiatives and highlighting potential strategies against disinformation
  2. a collaborative conceptual article
  3. one collaborative op-ed to feature in selected news outlets

Link for registrations: https://forms.office.com/e/uHFkDQVA9t

Speaker's biography

  • Vitalba Crivello - Policy Expert, EU Science-Media Hub, European Parliament
    With a background in international law, economics and politics, communication & media, she has more than 15 years of work experience in science policy, project, and communication management roles at the European level. Since 2018, she has been happily involved in the setting up and development of a brand-new project of the European Parliament - the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH). Before that, Vitalba worked in the European Commission, dealing with open science, researchers’ careers, and other related topics.

  • Marc Vilahur i Chiaraviglio - General Director for Environmental Policies, Generalitat de Catalunya 

    Environmentalist, specialized in NGO management and green economy, and passionate about sustainability. His professional career has been strongly linked to the third environmental sector and the public management of protected natural areas. The experience in these fields has given him a holistic and transversal perspective, necessary to understand the socio-environmental needs derived from the global environmental emergency. Its mission is to work to transform environmental policies and focus society on a just sustainable development that takes into account social equity. Defender of a collective challenge, of returning to the origin, to adapt our societies and guarantee the conservation of the planet and the prosperity of present and future generations as well as to contribute collectively to make a more sustainable and healthier world where synergies can be established between all sectors of society, to improve not only the planet, but also the life of every living being. 
  • Thiago Medaglia - Founder & Chief Editor, Ambiental Media
    Journalist, writer, and founder of Ambiental Media, an investigative journalism startup based on science and data.  Thiago has a master’s degree in History of Science from Harvard University (2022), was a guest researcher at the Knight Program in Science Journalism at MIT (2020) and has a postgraduate degree in Entrepreneurial Journalism from the City University of New York (2016).  He was editor of National Geographic Brasil magazine, in addition to having published articles and reports in outlets such as Folha de S. Paulo, Mother Jones, UOL and others.  He is co-author of six books on environmental issues and a member of the American Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), the World Federation of Science Journalists and the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji).

  • Victoria Reyes-García - ICREA Professor, ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
    Victoria Reyes-García (PhD in Anthropology) is ICREA Research Professor at ICTA-UAB. Her research focuses on Indigenous and local knowledge systems. She participates in the Transformative Change Report of the Intergovernmental Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). She is member of the National Academy of Science, USA (2021) and the Academie d'Agriculture de France (2022).


  • Mario Giampietro - ICREA Professor, Policy Scientist, ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
    Mario Giampietro recently retired from his position as ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.  He worked (and still works) on the integrated assessment of sustainability issues using concepts from complex systems theory. He developed a novel methodology, Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM), that integrates biophysical and socioeconomic variables across multiple scales, thus establishing a link between the metabolism of socio-economic systems and potential constraints of the natural environment. Recent research has also focused on science for governance and biosemiotics. He has (co)authored over 150 publications, including six books.


  • Claudio Angelo - Head of Communications, Observatório do Clima, Brazil
    Claudio Angelo is the head of Communications and International Policy at Observatório do Clima, a network of 100 Brazilian civil society organizations, and the founder of Fakebook.eco, Brazil's first platform dedicated to fighting environmental disinformation. He has a BA in Journalism at the University of São Paulo and was a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His book A espiral da morte, about the climate crisis, was awarded the Jabuti, Brazil's most prestigious literary award.


  • Michele Catanzaro - Science Journalist & Lecturer Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
    Michele Catanzaro is a journalist and a lecturer in journalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has a PhD in Physics. He writes for Nature, Science, El Periódico de Catalunya, and other media. He is co-author of the book "Networks: A Very Short Introduction" (OUP, 2012) and of the documentary "Fast Track Injustice: The Óscar Sánchez Case" (2014). His work has been recognized by the King of Spain, Golden Nymph, and European Science Writer of the Year awards, among others. He has been Nature-Marsilius Invited Professor at the University of Heidelberg.

  • Nereida Carrillo - Science Journalist, Expert in Media Education UAB - “Learn to Check” initiative
    Nereida Carrillo has a doctorate (cum laude) in Journalism and Communication from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where she teaches. In the field of information and media literacy, she leads “Learn to Check”, an educational and informative project to combat misinformation and bring digital verification closer to citizens, which has already trained more than 9,000 people and collaborates with more than 60 entities. As a journalist, she has worked in the newspaper ARA, the SER network and the TV3 website. She has also been a professor at the UPF, the UOC and the URV. She has published “Fake Over”, by Editorial Flamboyant; a rigorous and fun manual to learn to verify, illustrated by Alberto Montt. Her lines of research focus on misinformation, media education and info-entertainment. 

  • Marc Masip - Science Communicator & Trainer, Science Fact-Checking Expert. Verifica
    Marc Masip has a degree in Physics and a Master's degree in Scientific, Medical and Environmental Communication. He works as a scientific Fact-checker at Verificat, the first fact-checking platform in Catalonia, and is a regular contributor to Big Vang, the science section of La Vanguardia. He has coordinated the communication of European projects at the University of Girona and worked at the CosmoCaixa Museum in Barcelona.

  • Raoni Rajão - Professor of Environmental Management, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.Currently Director of Deforestation Control Policies at Brazilian Ministry of Environment

    Raoni Rajão is an associate professor in environmental management and social studies of science & technology in the Department of Production Engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil. His research interests include spatially explicit modelling, ecological economics, political ecology and science-policy interface with a particular focus on climate and forest policies in Brazil. He has collaborated with different agencies of the United Nations, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), amongst others, and has advised senior officials from state and federal governments in the creation of environmental policy with a focus on REDD+ and agricultural traceability. He is an affiliated member of the Brazilian Academy of Science. He is currently Director of Deforestation Control Policies at the Brazilian Ministry of Environment. 

  • Zora Kovacic - Ramón & Cajal Researcher, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya 

    Zora is a Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. She works in the interdisciplinary field of environmental social science applying a post-normal science perspective to the study of the science-policy interface. Her research focuses on how scientific information is used in the governance of complex environmental challenges, in situations of high uncertainty, high stakes and value disputes. The research line that she is developing regards science for the governance of complex environmental challenges, which she developed around three main themes: (i) the study of how scientific evidence is used in environmental policy, with a particular interest in the role of metrics, (ii) how uncertainty affects decision-making (developed through the study of energy policies in urban slums and innovative sustainability policies such as the circular economy), and (iii) the role of innovation and digital technology in environmental governance. 

Organizing committee & contact information

  • Letícia Santos de Lima (main organizer) Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher, ICTA/UAB, Spain; leticia.lima@uab.cat
  • Thiago Medaglia (co-organizer) Master’s in History of Science at Harvard (2022), Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT (2020), Science Journalist, Ambiental Media, Brazil. thiago@ambiental.media
  • Giulia Sonetti (organizational assistance) Beatriu de Pinós Research Fellow at Universitat Politécnica de Cataluña.  
    Architect, Phd in Environment & Territory. giulia.sonetti@upc.edu
  • Isabel Lopera (co-organizer) Science Journalist, ICTA/UAB, Spain. Master in Institutional and Corporate Communication Management Isabel.Lopera@uab.cat  
  • Beatriz Pierri Daunt (logistic assistance) Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher, ICTA/UAB, Spain.


This workshop is supported by the María de Maeztu Programme for Units of Excellence of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CEX2019-000940-M). Support also comes from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Voices for Science Program.


  • Oreskes, N., Conway, E. M. (2010) Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Bloomsbury Publishing, 355 p. More info: https://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/
  • Rajão, R., Nobre, A.D., Cunha, E., Duarte, T.R., Marcolino, C., Soares-Filho, B., Sparovek, G., Rodrigues, R.R., Valera, C., Bustamante, M., Nobre, C., Santos de Lima, L. (2022) The risk of fake controversies for Brazilian environmental policies. Biological Conservation 266, 109447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109447