Niels G. Mede

Niels G. Mede

Science Communication Researcher

University of Zurich, Switzerland


I am a Senior Research and Teaching Associate at the Department of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ), University of Zurich, Switzerland. My research focuses on science communication, public opinion, populism and its implications for science and science communication, and survey methodology. From March to May 2022, I was a visiting scholar at the Department of Life Sciences Communication of the University of Wisconsin—Madison. You can also find me on Mastodon.

  • Science communication
  • Public perceptions of science
  • Science-related populism
  • Survey methodology
  • Open Science and reproducibility
  • PhD, Communication and Media Research, 2022

    University of Zurich, Switzerland

  • MA, Communication Science, 2018

    University of Münster, Germany

  • BA, Media Management, 2016

    Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Germany


Selected conference presentations

Populist demands toward science and their implications for science communication: Analyzing science-related populism across countries and contexts

Paper presented at the Preconference “Misinformation, Science Populism, and the Role of Citizens” at the 9th European Communication Conference (ECC) of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), 17 October 2022, virtual.

Cognitio populi – vox populi: The implications of science-related populism for communication behavior

Paper presented at the 72nd Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), 26-30 May 2022, Paris, France.

Measuring public attitudes toward political and science-related populism in surveys: A tale of two scales?

Paper presented at the 77th Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), 11–13 May 2022, Chicago, USA.

Trust in science during challenging times of a global pandemic: The Science Barometer Switzerland

Paper presented at the 4th Science & You Conference, , 16–19 November 2021, Metz, France.

How knowledge overestimation, science-related populism, and digital media use fuel each other during the COVID-19 pandemic: Representative survey evidence from Germany and Taiwan

Paper presented at the 74th Annual Conference of the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), 2–6 November 2021, virtual.

Populism toward science: What it is and how it can be measured

Paper presented at the 17th International Conference on Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), 25–27 May 2021, virtual.

Science-related populism, its prevalence, antecedents, and outcomes: Evidence from the Science Barometer Switzerland

Paper presented at the PERITIA conference “Trust in Expertise in a Changing Media Landscape”, 18–19 March 2021, virtual.

Science-related populism: Conceptualizing populist challenges to the knowledge and power claims of science

Paper presented at the 70th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), 21–25 May 2020, virtual.

Populism toward science: Introducing a new theoretical concept and a scale to measure it

Paper presented at the ECREA workshop “Constructed facts, contested truths: Science and environment controversies in media and public spaces” at the 13th Annual Conference of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA), 8–10 January 2020, Brighton, UK.

Fake it till they take it? Pseudo user effects and pseudo user literacy

Paper presented at the 21st General Online Research Conference (GOR) of the German Society for Online Research (DGOF), 6–8 March 2019, Cologne, Germany.

Is distrust in the media undermining democracy? An explorative interview study on the implications of media skepticism

Paper presented at the 7th European Communication Conference (ECC) of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), 31 October–3 November 2018, Lugano, Switzerland.

Suspicion or sympathy? The relationship between scientists and journalists

Paper presented at the Interdisciplinary Symposium “Current Challenges to Mediatized Science Communication” of the IAMCR section “Mediated Communication, Public Opinion and Society”, 7–9 June 2018, Rostock, Germany.

Invited Talks

Populism scholarship – where are we going, where should we be going, how can we get there?

Symposium “Populism, Polarization, Propaganda in Times of Crisis” at the University of Zurich, 18 October 2022.

Wer braucht schon die Experten? Wissenschaft in Zeiten von Populismus, Falschinformationen und Verschwörungstheorien

Rämibühl Realgymnasium Zürich, 3 October 2022.

Trust in science and science-related populism across the world: Implications for science communication

Health and Risk Communication Center at the Michigan State University, 9 May 2022 — with Viktoria Cologna.

Criticism, skepticism, populism: Public resentments against science and implications for science communication

Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, 29 April 2022.

Trust in science and science-related populism: Implications for the role of science in politics and society

Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, 25 April 2022 — with Viktoria Cologna.

Was denkt die Schweiz über die Rolle der Wissenschaft in der Corona-Pandemie? Forschungsbefunde zu öffentlicher Wahrnehmung von Wissenschaft in Krisenzeiten

Input talk at panel discussion with PD Dr. Christian Althaus at the Paulus Academy Zurich, 28 April 2021.

Social Media im Dialog von Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft: Neue Chancen und hohe Erwartungen

Social Media Webinar 2020 of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT), 29 October 2020.

The “replication crisis” in the public eye: Germans’ awareness and perceptions of the (ir)reproducibility of scientific research

ReproducibiliTea Journal Club of the Center for Reproducible Science (CRS) at the University of Zurich, 1 October 2020.

Quelle: Wikipedia: Wissenschaftliche Befunde zur digitalen Informationssuche

Winterkongress der Digitalen Gesellschaft Schweiz (DigiGes), 23 February 2019 — with Sabrina H. Kessler.


Science communicators’ views of public criticism of science
Media use and public opinion during the COVID-19 pandemic
What does the public think about science? Secondary analyses of population surveys
Science communication and populism
The relationship between science and journalism in times of alternative facts and fake science