Last Friday I attended a conference called ReConEvent. It was all about “Publishing for Early Career Researchers – Immortalisation, Recognition and Metrics.” I know, I know, I’ll be a scientist my whole life but, coincidence of coincidences, last Friday was also the last day when I could technically call myself a researcher.
Nevertheless, I had agreed to give a talk at the event absolutely ages ago and I wasn’t about to back out. According to the ReConEvent site, “ReConEvent (Research Conference) is designed to raise and discuss current issues to do with research communication in academia and beyond.” I wanted to talk about science communication. Here’s my talk:
I love science communication. I got into it during my PhD and it’s how I ended up involved in some amazing projects and befriending some amazing people. The community is simply fantastic and it’s hard to estimate the value of the work they do – except to say that it’s absolutely indispensable. All the same, while I am grateful that more research institutes and senior academics are recognising the value of talking to the public about science, I worry that as it becomes a requirement for promotion and grant applications, that it can become a box-ticking exercise. I also worry that we tend to reach the same cross-section of the population with every event.
So, I wanted to talk about reaching out to wider audiences and trying to talk to people who don’t go to science festivals. It’s tricky, but I believe it can be done, and I hope that in my 15-minute slot I was able to say something useful. Afterwards, I sat on a panel with the other speakers in my session and answered audience questions – lots of questions came up about science communication and about how to measure the impact of your communication, so maybe if I ever find myself giving a talk like that again, it’ll be about impact.
Outside my slot, I found all of the talks interesting and informative and they almost made me wish I wasn’t leaving academia. Certainly, there’s a lot of knowledge out there that I would have applied to my work and my publishing habits, were I staying. I can only encourage other early career researchers to look out for next year’s event.
In the meantime, if this sounds like it might be of interest to you, you can find the slides here (I’ve only just emailed mine so it might be a short while before they appear) and all of the rest of the recorded talks, right here.