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Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Peters


Doctoral degree in social science (Dr. rer. soc.), Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany (1984)

Staatsexamen Sek II in social sciences and physics, University of Cologne, Germany (1981)

Academic Affiliations

Since 2004: Adjunct Professor of Science Journalism, Free University of Berlin, Germany
Institute for Media and Communication Studies

1981-2020: Social Scientist, Research Center Jülich, Germany (retired)



Research on public communication of science, technology and risk in the fields of nuclear power, genetic engineering, natural disasters, global climate change, and biomedicine:

  • interface of science and media (interactions of scientists and journalists; public relations of science, online communication, scientific experts)
  • reception and effects of media coverage of scientific issues by media audiences, political decision-makers and the research community (science governance, medialization of science, political use of scientific expertise)
  • journalistic approaches in the reporting of risk
  • public opinion and opinion formation on technological and environmental risk
  • social contexts of the neurosciences
  • cross-cultural studies of science communication.

Research grants: German Research Foundation (DFG), Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Volkswagen Foundation, European Commission, Rutgers University/U.S. Department of Agriculture.

International collaborations with colleagues in Europe, USA, Brazil, Israel and China.

Academic Teaching


  • Science communication, science journalism, experts in the public sphere
  • Environmental and risk communication
  • Methods of empirical communication research

Regular courses at Free University of Berlin (since 2004), University of Dusseldorf (1998-2003) and University of Munster (1991-1999).

Author of written study units on Scientists as public experts (Open University, UK) and Risk communication (German Institute for Distant Learning, University of Tubingen).

Guest lectures at academic institutions in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, UK, France, Spain, Portugal, USA, Canada, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and China.

Committees / Advisory Boards

  • Sub-committee Non-Ionizing Radiation, German Commission on Radiological Protection (2019-2022)
  • Commission “Artificial Photosynthesis”, German Science Academies (2016-2018)
  • Editorial Board “Public Understanding of Science” (2012-2019)
  • Commission “Knowledge transfer and new media”, German University Rectors’ Conference (HRK) (2011-2013)
  • Editorial Advisory Board “Science Communication” (2007-2019)
  • Scientific Committee, International Network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) (2002-2023)
  • Scientific Advisory Council, German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) (1997-2016)
  • Scientific Advisory Board “Technology acceptance and media effects”, German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology (BMFT) (1986-1988)


Invited talks at events for communication practitioners (science journalists, public information officers, risk communicators), public administration, industry, labor unions, other organizations of the civil society, and the interested general public.

Media interviews with journalists from newspapers, magazines, radio and TV programs.

Organization of communication trainings for scientists at the Research Center Juelich since 1992; trainer in media workshops for scientists of the European Science Communicators Network (ESConet) on behalf of the European Commission (coordinated by University College London).

Organization of workshops fostering information exchange between communication researchers and communication practitioners (e.g. about disaster communication).

Selected Publications

Peters, H. P. (2014). Scientists as public experts. Expectations and responsibilities. In M. Bucchi & B. Trench (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology (2nd ed., pp. 70-82). London: Routledge.

Peters, H. P., Dunwoody, S., Allgaier, J., Lo, Y. Y., & Brossard, D. (2014). Public communication of science 2.0. Is the communication of science via the “new media” online a genuine transformation or old wine in new bottles? EMBO reports, 15(7), 749-753. [Full text]

Peters, H. P., Allgaier, J., Dunwoody, S., Lo, Y.-Y., Brossard, D., & Jung, A. (2013). Medialisierung der Neuro­wissenschaften: Bedeutung journalistischer Medien für die Wissenschafts-Governance. In E. Grande, D. Jansen, O. Jarren, A. Rip, U. Schimank, & P. Weingart (Eds.), Neue Governance der Wissenschaft: Reorganisation – externe Anforderungen – Medialisierung (pp. 311-335). Bielefeld: transcript.

Peters, H. P. (2013). Gap between science and media revisited: Scientists as public communicators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(Supplement 3), 14102-14109. [Full text]

Peters, H. P., Brossard, D., de Cheveigné, S., Dunwoody, S., Kallfass, M., Miller, S., & Tsuchida, S. (2008). Science communication: Interactions with the mass media. Science, 321(5886), 204-205. [Full text]

Peters, H. P., Lang, J. T., Sawicka, M., & Hallman, W. K. (2007). Culture and technological innovation: Impact of institutional trust and appreciation of nature on attitudes towards food biotechnology in the USA and Germany. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 19(2), 191-220. [Full text]

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