When you perform scientific experiments or research, you need to have a certain level of skills or talent. Communicating to the general public about it, however, requires a totally different set of skills that not all scientists have (or even know about). That’s when communication specialists have to jump in and make the link between the science and the public.
Science communication can be a scary thing for scientific researchers but is mandatory in society nowadays where research is going global quicker than ever. Communicating about science doesn’t necessarily mean just publishing your content in open-access journals or online platforms. Open-access platforms are often intended only for specialists and not for the general public, whereas science communication helps the general public understand specific scientific subjects and the advancements of research.
But why bother communicating about the science to the general public on a wide scale? And how, as communication experts, do we proceed to do that?
Good impact for good science
As communication planning and activities take time and are a real full-time job, it is often not an aspect that is assigned to scientists themselves. Scientists are trained in research methodologies, they have analytical skills and are able to communicate with other colleagues but when it comes to explaining a scientific concept to a layperson, it can become a tougher task.
Here, at Sparks & Co, we give science a wider voice to help solve the challenges of the future and to give the research the impact it deserves. We work to reduce the gap between society and science. We simplify the message, without losing its content, to make it comprehensible to the general public.
Overall, scientific aspects can be complicated and understanding specific jargon and terminology is often difficult for readers. That’s why journalists work, hand to hand with science communicators, to make research more attractive and easy to understand, by using videos, simple and short sentences, graphic visuals, etc.
Science research to science popularization
In order to make informed decisions, the general public must be able to understand scientific research and innovation. Print magazines, online magazines, online influencers, online video channels, the radio and the television, to name but a few, are the main media channels for the dissemination of those scientific updates to the public.
Superquark: An Example from science communication experts
The LSFM4LIFE project, one of the health projects we are working on, is a perfect example of the importance of the media to talk to the general public. This project is developing a specific cell-based therapy to treat Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) patients. To reach the general public, we used a mass media channel: television.
— LSFM4LIFE (@LSFM4LIFE) August 23, 2017
A segment of a larger show, on one of the main Italian TV channels: RAI was where one of the LSFM4LIFE scientists, Dr Lorenza Lazzari had the opportunity to speak about the project. Through a 9-minute video, we chose to talk about the daily burden for the patients suffering from diabetes. The interview used science popularization to introduce the latest research, including the LSFM4LIFE project, that is currently performed and addressing this global health issue.
Check out the video of the interview (though you may want to brush up on your Italian skills first!)
Do you watch or look out for scientific news or research in the media? What are your favorite science shows/podcasts/magazines/blogs? Leave a comment below! Or if you want some help getting your message out send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to have some expert science communicators on your side!
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