Writing: more like ruthless re-writing

TheWriting - more like ruthless rewriting Welcome Trust aims to nurture new writers we offer crucial advice 

The Welcome Trust Science Writing Prize is open for entries. Until May 11th it welcomes submissions from scientists, students and amateur writers who can compete to be published in the Guardian or Observer and win £1000 in cash.

The competition aims to motivate and nurture the next generation of writers; previous winners including famous science journalist Ed Yong.

Continue reading Writing: more like ruthless re-writing

Filed under: Communication strategy,science copywriting,science writing | By Deborah on April 25, 2014 at 6:21 am

Five tips to improve your science blog

3634843977_8a94105b69_oThese days no scientist is allowed to work in the isolation of their laboratory. They must share their research and communicate their findings, not just in journals, but to the world at large.
The terms ‘dissemination’ and ‘outreach’ are always part of funding bids, so it is hardly surprising that many academics set up blogs to keep us informed about the projects. By blogging, researchers can discuss their science rapidly and informally without the pressure of peer review. Blogs may also increase the readership and citation rate of their primary papers.
But above all, scientific blogs can bridge the gap between academics and non-experts. Continue reading Five tips to improve your science blog

Filed under: science copywriting,science writing,Tips | By Deborah on March 29, 2014 at 11:20 pm

A new year, a new member of Scientia Scripta

January promises a fresh start and new challenges. So we begin this new year by welcoming another member to our team, science writer Deborah Oakley.

Deborah is no stranger here, having already worked with us as a freelancer. In 2013 she made significant contributions to our work on REF impact case studies. Her work is helping a leading UK university to highlight the ‘real world’ impact of its academic research through engaging web copy. Deborah also crafted some journalistic science articles, which were recently published in a University of Manchester stakeholder magazine. Continue reading A new year, a new member of Scientia Scripta

Filed under: Communication strategy,science copywriting,science writing | By Deborah on February 4, 2014 at 7:33 am

The science of sentence structure

Clear and engaging science writing is more about flowing sentences than total erradication of technical terms.

I have always argued that good writing is a skill. With time, effort, coaching and hours of practice I sincerely believe that anyone can learn to write well. You learn the rules, you listen to the experts and you always look to improve. Scientia Scripta has more than 15 years of writing experience – that’s a lot of hours of practice – which is why we can confidently claim to be experts!

Continue reading The science of sentence structure

Filed under: science copywriting,science writing,Tips | Tags: , | By Deborah on January 27, 2014 at 7:57 am

Le Cirque de Science Communication

Like the graceful, magical trapeze artist, the science communicator should enthrall her audience.

Trapeze_240

Silence. Dimmed lights, baited breath. Sequins shimmer and sparkle, winking at the audience below; a thousand pairs of eyes straining upwards as one, waiting. Her poise is perfect: she is ready.

Lights, heat, a crescendo of drums and she is falling, soaring, twisting and turning, spiralling to dizzying heights. She is dancing against gravity, teasing the trapeze.

Continue reading Le Cirque de Science Communication

Filed under: dissemination,science copywriting,science writing,Tips | Tags: , , | By Edwin on August 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

Christmas is coming… so let’s tell you about our summer!

It has been a while since our last blog post here. OK, it has been a very long while, but we hope it is not too late to explain ourselves! This has been a monumentally busy summer (and early autumn) with a number of projects all falling at once. Juggling workloads with family holidays (ah, those hot, heady days of summer…) presented a few challenges.

Here’s a glimpse of just a few projects we have been working on over the past few months

Continue reading Christmas is coming… so let’s tell you about our summer!

Do projects like to communicate?

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the findings of a survey we conducted in order to inform our CSFRI (or Horizon 2020) Green Paper response. We have looked at the use of sub-contractors in current FP7 projects, issues surrounding the involvement of SMEs as project partners and the development of Horizon 2020 itself.

In this post we explore some of the attitudes people have towards project communication.
Continue reading Do projects like to communicate?

Filed under: CSFRI,dissemination,FP7,innovation,science copywriting | Tags: , , , , | By Hywel on July 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Scientia Scripta on FP-tools.eu

As part of our on-going efforts to provide the best possible research dissemination service for EC-funded projects, we are delighted to announce that we are exploring  a new partnership with FP-tools.

FP-tools provides sophisticated document and project management tools specifically developed for EC framework programme researchers. The solutions on offer cover all aspects of project lifecycles from the creation of proposals, through research implementation to reporting on the final results.

The high quality tools on offer ensure that all documents are efficiently produced and in formats that comply fully with all EC requirements. However, the strength of all text does rely on the written ability of project partners as well as the amount of time and resources they can devote to the work. This can place limits on the quality of reports meaning that project research isn’t represented as well as it could be.

That’s where Scientia Scripta comes in. We are offering specialist editing and proofing of all reports and documents developed using FP-tools’ solutions; casting a critical yet creative eye over them to help research make more of an impact.

To find out more please go to FP-tools.eu and give your feedback on this exciting new development of our services.

Filed under: dissemination,FP7,science copywriting | Tags: , , , | By Hywel on June 17, 2011 at 2:06 am

Obstacles to FP7 outsouring

Our recent survey of people involved in FP7 projects found that projects seemed to be unimpressed by the use of sub-contractors. However, as we have discussed previously, these negative attitudes may be unfounded, based on perceptions rather than actual experience. Indeed, a fifth of those that had not used sub-contractors still believed that projects would improve were they to hire sub-contractors. So what is stopping them?

Perhaps they are sub-contracting the wrong kinds of activities. Scientia Scripta believes that when it comes to communication and dissemination it makes absolute sense to call in the professionals. Of course, some scientists – like the physicist Brian Cox in the UK who was recently received a Brit Award as TV’s top presenter – are amazing communicators. But most prefer to get on with their research, running their departments or going to conferences – doing what they do best. So why not hire a professional science copywriter to write your leaflets and edit your reports? Let them find the best words to make your communication materials be understandable, engaging and, most importantly, get across your key messages to your target audiences.

In a previous post we argued that an outsider’s viewpoint on research projects can provide valuable insights and objective opinions for dissemination purposes. Our survey also revealed that those projects which had experience of using sub-contractors would be more likely to sub-contract communication tasks than those projects that had no experience of outsourcing. These projects have seen the benefits that outsiders can bring – outsiders that may bring new ideas, alternative perspectives and innovation to a consortium.

Our survey was only small, we know. More thorough and larger studies are of course required to determine whether the insights from our survey reflect more general trends or whether other explanations may exist (for example, perhaps projects do not use sub-contractors due to financial constraints or the lack of suitable service providers).

Still, we think sub-contracting certain project tasks – especially those that are not part of the core R&D work packages – makes perfect sense and will help projects get better value for money. Professional service providers know what they can achieve on tight budgets!

The future of EU science – contribute to the EC’s FP8 consultation

In February 2011 the European Commission presented a green paper on the future of EU R&D funding. The paper, From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation, outlines the EC’s desire to make numerous changes the next Framework Programme, due to commence in 2013.
Continue reading The future of EU science – contribute to the EC’s FP8 consultation