Science communication: Telling it like it is

We’ve come across an interesting & well written blog piece from The Royal Institution, we highly recommend giving it a read. In the piece, their 2013 Christmas Lecturer Alison Woollard writes about the importance of science communication and public engagement. Below is an excerpt, but the article can be read in full HERE.

“My advice? Find out the questions before you prescribe the answers! Importantly, remember that engagement is a two-way process. It is about being interested in people and listening to what they say. Science is not an elitist club that most people cannot join – and public engagement should not be an overt ‘knowledge dissemination strategy’. Good science communication is a huge learning experience for the communicator as well as the audience – it certainly was for me.”

AHRC Researcher Media Guide for Arts and Humanities Researchers

The AHRC has put together a toolkit which aims to introduce arts and humanities researchers to engaging with the media – Toolkit – Working with the Media for Arts and Humanities Researchers. The complete toolkit can also be accessed online here.

If you find it useful you are invited to suggest subjects for future toolkits by mailing  

Obesity Wars: fitness vs fatness

Join Janice Thompson (School of Sport, Exercise, and Rehabilitation Sciences) and her research team as they visit the Science Garden at the Thinktank, Millenium point, on Thursday 30 October 2014 (11am to 5pm). Their ‘activity’ funded by the Physiological Society is entitled ‘Obesity Wars: Fitness versus Fatness’ and is an exciting, interactive event showcasing measures of fatness and fitness. It will illustrate the importance of fitness in promoting health and wellbeing, as well as highlight the public’s views on obesity and their motivation to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Podcast: Using social media in research

An increasing number of academics and researchers are seeking to exploit the rich data available on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. One organisation leading the way is the think-tank Demos, whose Centre for the Analysis of Social Media is working to produce political, social and policy insight and understanding through social media research. In this podcast Jamie Bartlett from Demos talks about the challenges and opportunities of using social media for social science research.

Has the REF helped to embed support for public engagement?

As universities await the conclusions of the REF 2014 assessment exercise, the NCCPE having been considering the impact of  the REF on public engagement, and whether this has been positive or negative. Join in the discussion by sharing your comments on the NCCPE blog. They will be picking up this discussion in more depth at Engage 2014 where they are hosting a seminar all about the REF, so look out for that!

Hall of FameLab 2014

At the end of September, the Natural History Museum London hosted the Hall of FameLab 2014 event showcasing six of the best FameLab alumni from across the world. FameLab presents scientific topics such as how to train bees to sniff bombs and the neuroscience of sign-language, in understandable and engaging three-minute talks. No PowerPoint slides were allowed, so the scientists had to rely on their knowledge, enthusiasm and charisma. The event was streamed online and the video is now available to watch.

Universitas 21 – 3 minute thesis competition

Each year Universitas 21 runs a three minute thesis competition in which Doctoral Researchers from the U21 member universities compete with each other to present their research to a non-specialist audience in 3 minutes or less.

This year, the event has involved approximately 800 PhD students from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Ireland, New Zealand, UK and USA. The original entry  has been narrowed down to just 17 students, from which an overall winner will be selected by an international panel of experts.

We are extremely pleased that one of the 17 finalists is Chris Morgan from Biosciences and you can view Chris’s presentation (along with the other 16 presentations) here