Tuesday 28

How can early career researchers make their voices heard in public debates? - join us at the "Standing up for Science" workshop

Posted by Kathryn Brian - Sense about Science on 28 Mar 2017

Sense about Science EU is running a workshop for early career researchers exploring the representation of science in the media and policy-making. The ‘Standing up for Science" workshop will involve interactions with experienced researchers who have previously engaged with the media and policymakers, as well as science journalists and policymakers.

How can early career researchers make their voices heard in public debates?. Sense about Science EU aims to do this by building a network to cultivate in the next generation of European researchers the ethos of taking responsibility for public discussion, and to give them the confidence and the know-how to do it, addressing one of the main RRI aims.

I am the current intern at Sense about Science EU and I have had the pleasure of previously attending a "Standing up for Science" workshop in the UK. I thought I would give you a personal insight into how I viewed the day to give you a flavour of what to expect. 

The day started with tea and coffee, over which I was struck by the overwhelming interest researchers held in ensuring their work is presented correctly to the public. My enthusiasm was further encouraged during the workshop by a press conference style discussion with academics who shared their experiences with the media. The session focussed on the potential dangers of communicating with the media and how researchers can avoid these dangers. Overall it became clear that communication is key! The take home advice we were given at this point was to be clear with our message and stick to our guns.

After a break (and further caffeine hit) it was time to take on the panel of journalists! The insights they provided were fascinating and did a lot to improve my perception of science journalists. In the past, I attributed any misrepresentations in the media to the extreme pressure placed on journalists to create an interesting story. Although the journalists agreed the pressure is extremely evident, they made it very clear they don’t want a mistake published as it would tar their name.

To round up the insightful day, we discussed the exciting ways we, as early career researchers, can participate in public outreach making it apparent that whether you’re a public speaker or more of a computer whizz, you can find ways to promote the momentum of your research in an approachable, interesting way. The workshop I attended in the UK focussed on the media and was detached from policy making meaning the event in Brussels will have an extra focus! The additional time to talk with policymakers makes the ‘Standing up for Science’ workshop in Brussels an amazing opportunity not to be missed. I can guarantee, it’s a brilliant way to spend your day!

The workshop is free to all early career researchers (PhD, postdoc etc.) and scientists in all sciences, engineering, medicine and social science. To make the most of this amazing opportunity apply through this link before 09.00 on 09/05/17 or click here for more information. If you want more information on the event, contact Sofie Vanthournout (svanthournout@senseaboutscience.org).

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