Next generation of researchers learn to communicate their science and grow their careers

16 April 2019
Stem Cells Australia ECRs learning how to pitch their science to a range of audiences.
Science communication is becoming a part of all researchers’ work and for good reason: scientists are looking for answers to challenges in society and need to be able to share their findings with the public in an engaging and accessible way. 

Stem Cells Australia Early Career Researchers (ECRs), representing PhD students and junior researchers who have completed their studies in the last five years, recently attended a workshop to learn more about how to take their research out of the laboratory and into the community. Held in conjunction with the Stem Cells Australia Retreat and hosted by Science in Public, the workshop provided insights into what different groups in the community know and understand about science, what their individual priorities may be, and how to engage with different community groups on issues that are important to them. The Workshop was sponsored by the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University.

Researchers had the opportunity to hear from representatives of three key audiences of science and learn how to present science in a way that’s meaningful and relevant:
  • Journalist Grant McArthur provided an insight into what makes the media tick.
  • Government relations specialist Dr Peter Thomas shared his knowledge of how to talk to politicians and engage leaders and decision-makers.
  • Science industry and commercialisation expert Dr Leonie Walsh showcased her perspectives in engaging with the business sector.
After hearing about what makes a good story, the researchers had the opportunity to pitch their own research to the judges, Australian Research Council’s Dr Liz Visher and Dr Robert Mun. Dr Genevieve Kerr (Monash University), Dr Aude Dorison (VCCRI) and Dr Christian Pflüger (UWA) were deserving winners. They will now receive additional media training with Science in Public. 

The workshop was very well received by the researchers who learnt how to balance the complexities of their science with its accessibility to all readers. 

The ECRs also attended a Career Forum at the conclusion of the Retreat, where four scientists with very different careers showcased their career journey and the steps that took them to their current position. 
The feedback to this event was very positive and the young researchers were excited to see how many ways they could contribute to the progression of science.

Stem Cells Australia would like to thank all the speakers for sharing their stories at both events,  as well as Science in Public and Monash University. We would especially thank Dr Aude Dorison, Chair of the ECR Committee, SCA’s Helen Braybrook and the other members of the ECR Committee, for organising this these two fantastic events.