Science Communication Workshop

Science communication plays an integral role in one’s scientific career. Being able to effectively disseminate research findings within the community and to consider collective opinions in prioritising research needs is an important attribute of scientific maturity. In keeping with its mandate to empower future leaders of Indian science, the India Alliance periodically conducts one-day SciComm101 workshops throughout the year. To keep the modules interactive, focused and productive, the number of students trained at each workshop is limited.

These two-day workshops are a unique opportunity for PhD students, Postdocs and Clinical researchers to receive training in written and oral communication skills. These workshops also provide an opportunity to these young researchers to discuss various issues pertaining to their research career including mentorship, career planning and ethical aspects of scientific and medical research. The workshops aim at skill as well as perspective building for the most aspiring young researchers by bringing young scientists and senior mentors together to provide a platform for discussion and learning. The call for application for these workshops are announced on India Alliance’s website annually. Only 1-2 workshops are organised in a year and accommodate 40 participants.

 

The workshop covers the following topics:

Ethics in Research

How should authorship on a paper be decided? Is plagiarism accepted in some cases? Why should I bother with animal ethical clearance? What is conflict of interest?

These are some of the questions that are explored in this module along with many other circumstances typically faced in a scientific career through examples and discussions. This module is to enable the participants to be better informed on how the ethical choices they make can shape their career.

 

Making Effective Oral Presentations

This session covers important tips on various aspects of oral presentation through creative hands-on exercises. How to prepare the message of a presentation, appear confident while presenting, speak articulately and engage the audience are some of the topics covered in this session.

 

Manuscript & Grants Writing

There are two sessions in this module. The first session is an interactive talk by senior scientists who shares general do’s and don’ts of manuscript and grant writing. The second is based on original research proposals submitted by the participants prior to the workshop. At the workshop, mentors will give detailed one-one feedback on the proposal. Mentors typically are internationally successful scientists and advise the participants on how their proposal would be received by an external reviewer.

As part of this session, the India Alliance Office also shares its experience with the various fellowship applications received at the office and advice on what goes into a "good" grant application.

 

Learning from Choices

This informal session is based on the premise that all scientists make choices during their career and students can benefit by learning from decisions taken by successful scientists. This is mainly a question and answer based session. Through this forum, participants can also find out about what postdoctoral supervisors typically look for in prospective employees and obtain advice on how to pick the most suitable postdoctoral supervisor or more generally pursue a career in research.

One-day variant of the two-day SciComm workshop, SciComm101 was launched by the India Alliance in 2014 in response to the rising numbers of requests from various academic research institutions to train more students on science communication skills.

Guidelines: The one-day workshop would be conducted, upon request, at institutions willing to host the mentors and trainees. The workshop is designed to impart training in grant writing, manuscript writing, PowerPoint presentations, and research ethics. The modules include hands-on exercises and case studies and are aimed at stimulating intense discussions among participants. The intended participants are PhD students, preferably in the final year of their programme.

The sessions are time-bound and participation in all sessions is a mandatory requirement to receive a certificate of participation.

Selection Process: Participation in the workshop is by invitation only. The host institution is expected to publicize the workshop to other institutions across that city. Students motivated to acquire training in the above-mentioned modules should be handpicked by the department heads from institutions and recommended to the host institution before a specified deadline. Selection of participants will be on a first-come basis.

A total of sixty students (30 students from the host institution and remaining from other institutions in the city) would be invited to attend the workshop. If need be, more participants can be accommodated.

Requirements (from Host Institution): If you would like to request a SciComm101 workshop at your institution, a cover letter from the leadership of the institution describing 1) the requirement for such a workshop and its benefits for the students; 2) a brief overview of the PhD courses offered at the institution; 3) any recent initiatives undertaken towards training PhD students in science communication; 4) preferred time of the year to conduct the workshop; and 5) information about the point of contact, should emailed to [email protected]

The host institution is expected to provide an auditorium, which can accommodate 60-75 students and has audio-visual facilities including a projector and a screen.

Workshop at a glance: One-day workshop to equip young science researchers with tools and strategies for effective communication of their ideas, experiments and scientific results from a science communication perspective. Help them make better science career choices.

Vision: In keeping with its mandate to empower future leaders of Indian science, the India Alliance has periodically conducted one-day (SciComm101) and two-day science communication workshops since 2012. This complements seamlessly with Nature India’s mandate to showcase India’s science ‘as it happens’ in laboratories and institutions across the country through in-depth coverage and analysis of research and science policy. The proposed workshop would be part of Nature India’s many communication outreach activities as the one-stop media platform for India’s science.

Nature India and the India Alliance both represent possibilities for young PhD scholars and postdoctoral scientists to transition into academic as well as non-academic science careers. Information and advice on how to explore various career options will form an important part of these workshops with a career session.

Structure & format: The workshop will be a one-day event preceding a biomedical (or scientific) conference organised by reputed science societies/organisations/institutes and Universities in India. A large participation by PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and junior scientists will be a pre-requisite for holding this workshop. Organising this workshop as part of a conference will ensure participation from a wide range of institutions across India. The workshop will include 3 separate sessions:

 

Session 1: Scientific Writing/Communication (moderated by India Alliance)

Speakers: Staff member, Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance

Topics to be covered:

  • Ethics in research
  • Oral Presentation skills
  • Manuscript writing
  • Grants writing
  • CVs and letters

 

Session 2: Science Communication (moderated by Nature India)

Speakers: Subhra Priyadarshini, Chief Editor, Nature India

Topics to be covered:

  • Science journalism
  • Popular science writing
  • Effective press releases
  • Social media for scientists

 

Session 3: Careers in Science (moderated by Nature Careers)

Speakers: To be organised by Nature Careers India

Topics to be covered (one of the following):

  • Career in the Industry
  • Career in Science Promotion/Intellectual Property
  • Career in Policy/Grant organizations / Journalism

 

Click on the titles below to download slides that are used for India Alliance Science Communication workshops. These are to be used for educational or personal purposes only. All rights reserved – India Alliance

 

Other resources,