Good and bad science in the media is something that bugs many who work in this field. Sense About Science is an organisation which facilitates better understanding of science. However, they require the help of scientists, journalists and policy makers to do this.
While at King’s College London, there are many ways for you to get involved in science communication such as attending a Standing up for Science media workshop, volunteering for the British Science Association or carrying out a work placement at media companies such as the BBC. Below are some top tips I have picked up from the most recent Sense about Science workshop held at the Crick Institute.
- Feel open to speak up about science, regardless of your current career progression.
- The academic panellists stressed the importance of getting media training if you plan on appearing before a camera as part of your scientific career. The Science Media Centre has lots of information regarding this.
- Get to know your institute’s press office as they will be well equipped to publicise any scientific papers you release.
- Science journalists know how to engage readers and make your science interesting. It is important to give them a chance to understand your work but do be careful with the words you use.
- Many grant applications now ask about ongoing public engagement in your lab so these activities are becoming more recognised and beneficial for scientists to take part in.
- Attend events and festivals by King’s College London, The Royal Society, Science London, and Science Museum.
- You can then organise your own stall at a local festival and rope in your colleagues too!
- Time is an issue for most scientists, so start small to gradually improve your time management skills.
- Get involved, direct from your computer – you can join a Sense About Science campaign such as #AskForEvidence or #VoYS.
- For more hands on opportunities, Sense about science need volunteers and have some internships available throughout the year.
Duvaraka Kulaveerasingam is a PhD student in the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics, in the final year of her British Heart Foundation studentship.
She researches how the heart grows in zebrafish.
She has carried out work experience at BBC Horizon, represented the Institute of Biomedical Science at the British Science Festival and volunteers for the BSA.
Photo from Sense about Science Facebook page, used with permission