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.

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

A Round Up of the REF Results

After much anticipation, the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) were published on Thursday 18th. Universities across the UK received scores for the average quality and ‘power’ of their research with overall rankings presented in a league table.

Here we give you a complete round up of the key points from the REF results day and look forward to REF 2020.

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Filed under: Tips,University issues | By Deborah on December 19, 2014 at 7:44 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

Universities collaborate with industry to succeed

The impact agenda stimulates collaboration: universities thrive and boost the UK economy


In a recently published report Universities UK (UUK) revealed that the higher education sector contributes 2.8% to UK GDP. This is more than the basic pharmaceuticals, legal services and computer manufacturing sectors. Each year universities generate £73 billion in output and this has grown despite the recession: up 24% or £59 billion since the previous study five years ago.

“It is clear that universities are making an increasingly significant contribution to the UK economy, both in terms of contribution to GDP and creating jobs,” said Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President of UUK.

Collaborate or die?

Industrial collaborations may have stimulated this success. Following the recent research excellence framework (REF2014) assessment – in which 20% of a universities final score hinges on the demonstration of the impact of research – academics are now much more aware of the mutual benefits that collaboration can bring.

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Filed under: University issues | By Deborah on June 11, 2014 at 1:31 am

Eight easy ways to retell your impact story

The academic landscape is changing. Whilst blue skies research remains fascinating, research councils, funders and university assessors now want to know why your research matters. They all ask, “What impact will it make?”

Perhaps the work stimulates invention, changes policy or informs practise. Funders want to know how your previous work benefits society and how they will get value for money from future projects.

Image: Calvinius -

Today the Research Evaluation Framework (REF) is assessing British universities on their research impact; the results will be published later this year. But universities should not sit idly waiting for results.

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Filed under: Communication strategy,dissemination,science writing,Tips,University issues | By Deborah on May 23, 2014 at 6:56 am