Leibniz-IZW launches the spin-off "KeepNatureAlive.de" – a scientific communication and crowdfunding platform

To maximize the effectiveness of its scientific findings in addressing the global biodiversity crisis, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) relies on close interaction with society, including the use of innovative multimedia tools.

The platform "Keep Nature Alive" (www.keepnaturealive.de), which was recently spun off from the Leibniz-IZW, continues this path: "Keep Nature Alive" combines digital communication and crowdfunding and in this way aims to establish lively and committed communities for projects at the interface of science and environmental protection. In addition, the platform will be accompanied by communication science - as the first of its kind.

German federal science minister Anja Karliczek has long advocated forward-looking science communication that aims to position science at the center of society. The strategy for science communication to be implemented by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (formulated in a policy paper of 20191) emphasises the high social relevance of science communication and lists dialogue orientation, general ease of comprehension and confidence building in science as important parameters for its quality. In order to enable and promote this kind of knowledge exchange at the interface between science and society, the Leibniz-IZW sees it as its duty to develop diverse and efficient instruments. In particular, digital tools for platform communication are suitable for stimulating low-threshold and high-outreach communication with a high degree of interaction.

With the spin-off "Keep Nature Alive", the Leibniz-IZW takes these goals into a new direction. The platform supports national and international research projects that work to stop the loss of biodiversity and reduce the negative impact of humans on nature and climate. In doing so, the platform works in close cooperation with Leibniz-IZW and other scientific facilities and institutions. At the same time, a community of interested parties and supporters will be established with the platform, who can enter into direct communication with the initiators of the funded projects. With the help of the platform, supporters learn first-hand about the work of conservation science and its positive impact on biodiversity. The platform keeps users informed about supported projects, organises online meetings with project scientists, and may allow for future residencies and on-site visits to projects. This gives users valuable insights into the work of the research projects and brings science and society into close exchange.

Keep Nature Alive is the first communication and crowdfunding platform that will be accompanied by communication science. In order to gain future insights into communication with different addressees and to improve selected communication tools for scientists, an international communication and crowdfunding campaign for the BMBF-funded BioRescue project (www.biorescue.org) will be developed for social media and accompanied by communication science. BioRescue is a species conservation science project for the conservation of the Northern White Rhino. The planned campaign will be an evolution of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" that took place in 2014. This highly successful campaign raised global awareness of the nerve disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and raised essential third-party funding for science. The goal of the science accompanying Keep Nature Alive will be to investigate characteristics of user groups and behaviours from different countries as well as communication channels and functional processes of viral campaigns.

"Through my 20 years of communication work in conservation science at Leibniz-IZW, I have gained deep insights into current and future challenges for biodiversity conservation. During this time, I have experienced first-hand how important it is to communicate evidence-based knowledge in a professional manner. This allows scientific results to have maximum impact and contribute to solving societal challenges in a sustainable way. Furthermore, I have also seen the high demand for science funding that natural science research projects require in addition to government funding structures. Therefore, our new communication and crowdfunding platform "Keep Nature Alive" can make a significant contribution to create new synergies here," explains Steven Seet, founder of the platform and head of science communication at the Leibniz-IZW.

"You only protect what you know and appreciate. That's why we designed Keep Nature Alive to be more than a conservation checkout or toll booth for our planet - our goal is to inform, engage and motivate through communication and multi-faceted interactions. By raising awareness of current environmental challenges, spreading knowledge about possible solutions and connecting supporters with scientists and conservationists, we can change our world for the better," says Jan Zwilling, co-founder of Keep Nature Alive.

Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in the
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Alfred-Kowalke-Strasse 17
10315 Berlin, GERMANY

Steven Seet
Head of Staff for Public Relations and Science Communication
Science Management
e-mail: seet@izw-berlin.de
phone: +49(0)30 5168125

Jan Zwilling
Science Editor Staff for Public Relations and Science Communication
Science Management
e-mail: zwilling@izw-berlin.de
phone: +49(0)30 5168121