Event Report: Effective Science Communication Workshop

by Valerie Soo, Ph.D.

Science communication is one of those skills that are easy to learn, but difficult to master. Scientists are routinely trained to communicate among themselves (e.g., through journal articles and oral presentations), but are often insufficiently trained in communicating with non-scientists. With that in mind, EURAXESS Links ASEAN and Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia (YSN-ASM) had jointly organised the Effective Science Communication Workshop in November 2015 to train participants to effectively communicate their research ideas towards a wide and variable audience.

Held in the office of ASM, this full-day workshop was attended by 35 participants ranging from early-career scientists to clinician researchers. Prof. Liong Min-Tze, the then Secretary-General of YSN, gave a brief welcoming speech, and introduced the trainer of the workshop, Dr. Sanna Fowler, who is a communication expert and an experienced trainer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.

Dr. Fowler led four interactive sessions during the workshop, namely “What am I doing here? Defining the impact of your research”, “How to tell your story”, “Pimp your data”, and “Creating presentations people will want to listen to”. As a correspondent for Scientific Malaysian, I was honoured to elaborate briefly on common challenges faced by Malaysian scientists in verbal and written communication, and how to sell oneself in the digital age. Overall, the contents of these sessions were filled with informative statistics and useful tips to help participants to convince others of their research ideas, disseminate the implications of their research, increase the visibility of their research, as well as to educate and influence decision-makers.

The workshop ended with a prize-giving ceremony for the winners of the 2nd YSN-ASM Creative Science Writing Competition, and the workshop participants joined in to congratulate the winners. All the participants in this workshop – regardless of their seniority – admitted that they have learned a little bit more about communicating their science effectively, and they hope to put these communication tips into good use in the near future.

Photo courtesy of YSN-ASM.

Photo courtesy of YSN-ASM.

For more photos, please visit Photo Gallery.

EURAXESS Links ASEAN connects the research communities in ASEAN with their colleagues and peers in 40 European countries. The network provides information to the ASEAN research community on European research funding schemes, research careers and opportunities for research collaborations with Europe. For more information, please contact Dr. Susanne Rentzow-Vasu (email: [email protected]).

YSN-ASM represents a group of outstanding young doctorate scientists of Malaysian nationality with an age less than 40 years old and have the capability to contribute to strengthening the Malaysian scientific community. For more information, please contact Prof. Liong Min-Tze (email: [email protected]).