The value of research lies not just in developing knowledge, but also in communicating the findings: so reach out to the crowd and connect!
Aim of this course:
(1) learning to communicate the value of your doctoral project to the general public and
(2) communicating your findings in terms your audience understands.
Not all researchers feel comfortable about promoting themselves and their work, which is a shame because promoting your research is essential if you want to make others aware of your findings. A good starting point for promoting anything is your network. But extending your network isn’t that easy, especially when you’re new to the game. So maybe you could use a little help. On this course, you will learn how to pitch your research and you will develop the first draft of your online promo video. We focus on online promotion techniques because social media platforms, like LinkedIn and Twitter, are important players, both in our daily lives and at work. It is only logical that we as scientists are also represented online.
I started my first blog on my own site in my second year. Now, two years later, I have about 60 blogs and 60 international viewers a month. In addition, I have uploaded several videos about my research and my projects to YouTube. The most popular video has had more than 200 views. As of this month, I am also an official columnist for “De Dikke Blauwe” and “The Fundraiser”. Writing blogs has really boosted confidence: I feel much more secure about my knowledge.
PhD students have a tendency to work in isolation rather than connecting with the world around them. Networking is important because it connects us with important actors: society, business, other researchers, etc. By promoting our findings and connecting with the general public, society becomes more involved: its voices and concerns can be heard. Science can be used to solve problems. But in order to help, we have to be aware of what the problem is. By connecting more, we allow society to take on a greater role, and the necessary science can be applied. For this to happen, we need to work closely with companies and non-governmental bodies (hospitals, social institutions, and religious organizations). These are the societal and economic actors we need to connect with in order to involve them in co-designing research projects. In addition, more and more journals value ‘open science’: researchers are expected to be transparent about their methods and findings. Therefore, promoting your findings online (besides publishing) is increasingly important, since this will allow more individuals to read and comment on your work.
In short, this course consists of several lectures from guest speakers: (I) open science (Prof. Dr Rene Bekkers): this lecture demonstrates the scientific value of promoting your video; (II) connecting with policymakers (Dr S. Hasanefendic): this lecture demonstrates the societal value of a promotion video, (III) the personal value of a promotional video: networking and impact. In addition, we will be providing several tips and tricks during workshops given in conjunction with ScientistWanted. ScientistWanted – a small group of scientists who focus on enhancing the communication skills of young researchers – will be giving a series of workshops on how to develop a promotion video.
During the workshops, we will discuss questions such as:
- PhDs student are not in a position to communicate their findings to a broad public because they are lacking in knowledge.
- If scientists communicate their findings, they do so in a manner that is too sensational.
- Scientists work too much in isolation, and they don’t try hard enough to communicate their findings to the general public.
- Communicating your findings is an important part of your PhD trajectory.
- It is easier for alpha scientists to communicate their findings/value than for beta scientists.
- Scientists are not educated well enough to communicate their findings to the general public.
Students will also develop a one-minute pitch, which they will present during the course. The final product consists of a three-minute promo video. We will write a script during the course, which students will film and edit on their own.
This course is rather unique since we will be working with both scientist and practical experts. This will be a practical course focused on communicating the value of your doctoral project and research findings. We will work with ScientistWanted and produce an actual promotion video.
- A three-minute video (the final version to be submitted up to two weeks after the end of the course – a draft version will be played on the final day of the course)
- A one-minute pitch (presented during the course)
- A two-page paper (to be submitted on the final day of the course)