Department of Media and Communication
Paul Pechan, received his PhD in Plant Physiology at Cambridge University, England in 1983. As a postdoc, he worked at UC Davis and Agriculture Canada. In 1988 he was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship to work in Germany. From 1988-1995 he worked as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute (MPI für Biochemie in Munich). From 1995 to 2004 he worked as a scientist at the Technical University Munich and concurrently as the head of a plant molecular laboratory at Charles University in Prague (1995-2000). During this time he coordinated 5 EU-wide research projects, primarily in the area of plant molecular biology. Due to increasing interest in science communication, he changed to the Institute of Communication and Media Research at the Ludwig Maximilians University in the fall of 2004. Paul Pechan is Listed in Who-is-Who in the World and Who-is Who-in Science.
Although still active in health related research projects, his main interest revolves around communicating health, environmental and risk issues with different stakeholder groups, especially general public and youth. Among the youth, the work is primarily aimed to improve scientific literacy: to stimulate information recall and motivation to learn more about the presented topics. Among the general public, the work aims to empower the citizens to make knowledge based decisions. The activities are also directed to encourage dialogue on key current and emerging societal challenges. For example, specific stakeholder participatory discourses are used to identify and prioritize environmental/ health challenges and solutions. Internet, multimedia, television, printed media as well as specialized events/meetings are used as the communication and dialogue platforms.
Research is aimed at evaluating the impact and effectiveness of the generated and communicated content to reach set objectives - for example improve learning in classrooms or foster public engagement. Experiments are designed to answer specific questions arising from the investigations and includes qualitative and quantitative data analysis. The research outcomes are intended not only to improve communication with different stakeholder groups in different settings but also to provide support to policy and decision makers.
Current project (PASIT), carried out together with University of Bonn, integrates phenological modeling with socioeconomic and behavior data collection instruments to address climate change impacts on fruit and nut farming communities in two regions differing in geography, climate threat and socioeconomic profiles - Tunisia and Chile.
Recent projects (as project author and coordinator):
- EU- ComScience, 2009- 2012, EURO 794 720
- EU- ComEnvironment, 2009-2013, EURO 871 620
- EU- ComFish 2012-2015, EURO 1 000 000
- BMBF- PASIT 2017-2020, EURO 1 320 000
Other recent projects (as project partner)
- EU- HealthCommunication 2012-2014, EUR 87 000
Pechan published 44 papers in refereed and other journals (4 in the past 2 years). The papers have 1103 citations with an h-index of 16 (Google Scholar). He co-authored three books with Springer publishers-"Genes on the menu", "Safe or nor safe" and “, and "Living with water". He authored one book with UNESCO-"Learning to deal with new technologies", to be published in 2015. In addition, Pechan has authored or co-author 14 films for public and educational audiences on health, food and environmental issues. Pechan was involved in numerous presentations, invited lectures and organization of workshops and meetings.