In this PhD level course, students will learn about the common skills that all effective science communicators have: identifying and characterizing the target audience, distilling the relevant information to be communicated, effective ways to deliver and receive information, and the variety of techniques and media by which scientific information is communicated. The final outcome of the course will consist of students presenting their elevator talks and posters at the KBC DAYS 2023.
The registration is closed!
If you are a PhD student, we encourage you to present your project during the KBC DAYS 2023, November 7-8, in the form of an elevator talk and a poster.
To help you present yourself and your project in the best way, we offer you to participate in the course "Science Communication: Elevator Pitch (2 ECTS)". The four-day course will be held on October 11, 16, 20 and November 6 in Glasburen, KBC. As a part of this course, you will prepare and practice your presentation.
Note! The course is open for all admitted PhD students, but midterm PhD students will be given priority for the course participation. The number of course places is limited (first come, first served)! If space allows, some Postdoctoral fellows may be admitted.
Note! All course participants will be guaranteed a slot in the Workshop on the use of AI in data analysis given by Assoc. Prof. Marek Mutwil on 6 November in the frame of The KBC DAYS 2023. More information and workshop registration will be announced soon!
Credits: 2 ECTS credits Established: 2023-09-20 Syllabus valid from: 2023-09-20 Main field of study: General science Grading system: G pass, U Fail Level of Education: Doctoral course
1. Requirements Admitted PhD students. If space allows, some Postdoctoral fellows may be admitted.
2. Learning Outcomes After completing the course, students shall be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
Describe the importance of a clear message in interpersonal communication, and different ways to communicate effectively in written, spoken, and other forms. Understand that a clear message is as important in communicating to their peers as it is to the general public.
Describe how science is valued in society in a variety of cultural, economic, political, and social contexts. Understand what each of these potential audiences expect from the scientists and the institutions they represent.
Understand the various communication channels available to them and the different audiences they can reach through these.
Competence and skills
Develop the tools to put individual research into a broader context for various audiences, including the classroom teaching environment (undergraduate and graduate), public engagement, industry, and policy.
Demonstrate creative ability to communicate in ways that audiences will pay attention to, understand, remember and act on.
Possess communication skills for the oral presentation of scientific arguments to an informed audience.
Prepare a two-minute elevator pitch encompassing the skills and competence outlined above.
Judgement and approach
Discuss the purposes of science communication in society.
Discuss factors that influence the context of how (popularized) science communication can be carried out, particularly the role of prior knowledge, experience, attitudes and beliefs.
Critically reflect upon the challenges by different contexts and audiences in relation to the communication of science.
Course outline Day 1: 11 October 2023 – KBC Glasburen 8:30-12:00: Why and where do we communicate science? Elevator pitch exercise, introduction to the Message Box. 13:00-16:30: Prepare your Message Box, feedback exercises. Day 2: 16 October 2023 – KBC Glasburen 13:00-16:30: From message box to elevator pitch. Elevator pitch practice. Day 3: 20 October 2023 – KBC Glasburen 8:30-12:00: Practice your elevator pitch, feedback exercises. Day 4: 6 November 2023 – KBC Glasburen 13:00-15:00: Final elevator pitch rehearsal
In an increasingly linked and networked world, scientists need to be effective communicators to many different audiences, from grant agencies to scientific peers, public audiences and the media. To communicate science well does not always come naturally, but just like other aspects of scientific work, science communication is a skill that can be learnt and developed. In this PhD level course students will learn about the common skills that all effective science communicators have: identifying and characterizing the target audience, distilling the relevant information to be communicated, effective ways to deliver and receive information, and the variety of techniques and media by which scientific information is communicated.
Primary Instructor: Gabrielle Beans, research communicator at Curiosum and IceLab
The course will be hosted by a science communication professional. The four-day course will cover the following topics
Why communicate science?
The media ecosystem – how people encounter science in their everyday lives (radio, TV, newspapers, blogs, podcasts, social media, websites).
Elevator talks – how to distill information down to the essential points.
The nature of this subject will require active participation, interaction and creativity. Students will be required to communicate with each other during the course to practice and develop these skills. The activities that participants will undertake include:
Using the Message Box tool
Creating and practicing an ‘elevator talk’ about your own research (2 minutes)
This course consists of sessions with short introductions to course topics, and hands-on exercises and feedback sessions with the instructor and your peers. Time is also set aside for individual work to create and refine the course outcome, the elevator pitch.
Practical exercises will occur in small groups, e.g. one-on-one between two students with instruction, guidance and support from the course instructor. Students will offer feedback for each other’s communications efforts, e.g. elevator talk, switch roles and then form new one-on-one groups. After small group activities, students will then present their communication effort to the larger group for feedback.
The final outcome of the course will consist of students presenting their elevator talks at the KBC days. These presentations will inform the final evaluation at the end of the course. The review panel will provide written feedback on these presentations after KBC days.
The grade will be determined by the level of participation and quality in the daily practical activities and the elevator pitch. Student participation requires actively developing communication tools and providing critical feedback to other students throughout the course.
6. Other Directives
Academic credit transfers are always reviewed individually according to the University’s set of rules and academic credit transfer regulations.
7. Recommended Course Literature
Nancy Baron 2010. Escape from the ivory tower: a guide to making your science matter. Island Press, Washington, D.C.
Some excerpts from the book above and any other course materials used will be available online through the course’s Canvas website, or given out during the course.
There is a lot of practical, hands-on work during the course, such as crafting your message and creating an elevator pitch. You will need internet connectivity, a laptop, and a pen and paper to scribble with.