This is a new series of blog posts where you can get to know the members of Sparks a little bit more personally! Our second team member to let us get to know them better is Emma Buchet, International Cooperation Manager in charge of creating communication strategies for European project proposals.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hey there! I’m Emma Buchet and I work here as International Cooperation Manager. I have a French name but an Irish accent and I’m full of other surprises! I started my studies in Biology, in Molecular Medicine in Trinity College in Dublin where I fell in love with all things science…but not in actually doing the science itself. I then completed a Masters in Science Communication at Dublin City University where I finally found that balance between science and humanities that was suited for me. I joined Sparks & Co as I saw they were doing great things with big European research projects that were really making an impact in science and haven’t looked back to my days in the lab!
Please describe your role in Sparks & Co
As International Cooperation Manager my job has many different aspects. The main one focusing on creating communication and dissemination strategies for EU project proposals. This means I work with consortiums around Europe to help them achieve the highest score on their Impact section. I also host webinars and seminars in this area, introducing people to Impact in H2020 or helping them achieve the highest impact score themselves.
A big part of my role is also to attend events related to H2020 or EU projects. These can be information days, conferences or brokerage events. This is to find partners and introduce them to the partner that might be missing from their consortium or to keep up-to-date on the upcoming EU project calls.
I also do different tasks such as editing the agency blog and lending a helping hand wherever I can!
What are the most challenging aspects of your role?
Sometimes I have to juggle 5 things at once! When the deadlines are close this can be a bit stressful but luckily I have the right mind frame to be able to do different things at the same time. In fact that’s the way I enjoy working the most!
I can also have some trouble when scientists or other partners don’t understand the importance of impact in scientific projects (to get technical it is worth 1/3 of a H2020 project’s evaluation) or they just don’t understand how to communicate science hence they suggest unfeasible or unimaginative ways of communicating to their audiences. These are little problems I have with the role but I embrace them as part of it!
How do you overcome these challenges?
I like lists. A lot! Anyone in the office can tell you I am the Post-It Queen. There is never less than 10 Post-Its on my desk with different things I need to do or to remember (at the time of writing I have 10 on my desk and wall).
In terms of getting across the importance of impact and science communication? Sometimes I have to stand my ground and insist on the value of these two concepts. Facts (such as Impact being worth 1/3) help me out but it is mainly to show people the benefits of impact and science communication for all, above simply winning the funding.
What is the most exciting part of your role?
Well, this is easily the travelling. I have been to many places in Europe I haven’t had the chance to before. The events are (mostly) very enjoyable; learning about new developments and innovations, and I get to meet very interesting people from all over the world.
— Sparks & Co (@sparksandco) 21 juin 2017
How important do you feel science communication is in today’s society?
I feel that it is more important than ever in today’s society. More and more people have access to information, and this is both a blessing and a curse. “Natural” remedies being chosen over serious medicine, stories generating fear of things like vaccines and GMOs and a fear of what science is doing are easily accessible and sometimes promoted through the media (though I am a fan of the show Black Mirror!). It is important to arm ourselves with information when in today’s world it seems like you do not know what information to trust.
Also knowing about science is just really great and makes for great conversation topics 😉
Do you think more people should engage with science communication? How?
I really think they should. It is so important for the reasons mentioned above, but also important for scientists. It can be easy to get shut off from the world in the lab so engaging with people through science communication can bring back the human perspective to research. Many great citizen science initiatives have been launched and are successful and accessible. Following scientists on Twitter or Facebook (like Neil de Grasse Tyson, Scibabe and Brian Cox) is a great way to inject a bit of science into your everyday life (or in the case of scientists, maybe follow a scientist from a different field for some inspiration!).
The point is that there are many different ways to engage in science communication and there is no excuse for not using these great tools to really make the best impact!
To connect with Emma you can find her profile on LinkedIn, and maybe see her at an event near you!
If you have an idea for a proposal, some communication materials that are lacking from your current project or even if you have a blog idea drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest posts by Emma Buchet (see all)
- Science communication in science education: helping the power of knowledge sharing - 14 March 2018
- Celebrating Women and Girls in Science Day! - 14 February 2018
- Our Sparkling Team Members Episode 2: Emma Buchet - 24 January 2018