Scientists, what’s your communications strategy?

ChatBubblesI’m just starting to prepare some training for PhD students and early career scientists to help them become good communicators as well as top researchers.

I’m convinced that communication is not about personality, although if you are a natural storyteller then it is oh-so-much easier. But the best communication (and by ‘best’ I mean ‘effective’) is driven by strategy not charisma. Purposeful planning is the key.

Continue reading Scientists, what’s your communications strategy?

Filed under: Communication strategy,dissemination,University issues | Tags: , , , , | By Edwin on April 23, 2015 at 2:48 am

Five Ways to Publish Accurate Press Releases

news scrabble Coverage of science news can be inaccurate, biased and sensational. So how can you, as a scientist, ensure that your research receives press attention but is reported in an accurate manner?

Although many scientists blame journalists for sensational coverage, research published in BMJ this week shows that press releases issued by universities play a key role in exaggerated coverage.

“Our research shows that most exaggeration in health-related science news is already present in the press releases issued by universities,” says Chris Chambers and fellow researchers in a Guardian article about the findings.

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Filed under: science writing,University issues | Tags: , | By Deborah on December 11, 2014 at 2:20 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

Science communication with a difference

We love making science exciting, engaging and understandable for non-experts. So we were particularly pleased to hear about a wordy PR exercise organized by the UK’s national synchrotron facility – Diamond Light Source.

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Filed under: Communication strategy,science writing | Tags: , | By Hywel on December 15, 2011 at 8:30 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!

New Trends in European PR: Success Stories

This is a guest post by Piotr Pogorzelski on an important emerging trend within European R&D PR and communications – the success story.

Continue reading New Trends in European PR: Success Stories

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!