This is a new series of blog posts where you can get to know the members of Sparks a little bit more personally! Our third team member to let us get to know them better is Caroline Estephan, European Communications Manager in charge of the projects Diagoras, LSFM4LIFE, New Deal and the “Strategic European Communications” unit.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi everyone, I’m Caroline. At Sparks & Co I’m the Communications Manager, in charge of the “Strategic European Communications” unit.
I have joined Sparks & Co in 2015 to take the lead on our European Communications team. I hold a Master’s degree in Marketing and Communication from Novancia Business School Paris.
I always wanted to use my skills for a great cause – a goal that my position in communicating for research and innovation has helped me reach. Being one the most experienced member at Sparks & Co, I became the strategic manager for all European communications, overseeing all Sparks & Co EU projects as an expert in Impact-making for research.
Please describe your role in Sparks & Co
As European Communications Manager my job has many different aspects.
The main one focusing on creating communication and dissemination strategies for EU project and implementing the communication activities (from visual identity to websites, social media strategies to KPIs, videos, press relations and much more). I am Work Package leader for 3 Horizon 2020 projects in health research: Diagoras, LSFM4LIFE, New Deal and I previously worked on Starbios2.
I also host webinars and seminars around the best practices in Communications to help the EU scientific community for the communication and dissemination of their projects.
I also do different tasks such as the continuous process of practices improvement for my unit!
What are the most challenging aspects of your role?
Science communication and specifically communication for EU projects is still a young concept that a few years back, was restricted to big NGOs, patient associations and major scientific projects. Also, it rarely includes new communication tools and modern design. Nowadays, although the communication tools are pretty much same than in other industries, the communication strategy, the communication objectives and the content are different. It’s also still challenging to bring modernity.
The most challenging part is to promote science communication and to engage with an audience that is not yet used to it. At the end my role is to adapt the communication concepts to science and to connect with the project targets – usually general public, the scientific community, industry, policymakers and the media – by using the right messages and facilitating the understanding of complex concepts.
How do you overcome these challenges?
I don’t see those challenges as a problem but as a way to participate in improving science communication in the bigger picture. To design the right communication strategy for my projects I research a lot their scientific concepts, because if I can’t understand how can I transmit the right message. Then I research how previous studies, projects or initiatives about the same topics communicated, with what messages and what media channel they used. On top of that I monitor the communication trends to include them in my strategy.
When my strategy is coherent and the communication activities in place, I network with other projects, with the help of the researchers, to create more impact and have a better visibility in the crowd of content.
What is the most exciting part of your role?
It’s very exciting to know that my work has a positive impact on the European research! Communication is a great tool and it’s even better to use it for a meaningful cause.
I also love exchanging with the scientists during our meetings – every 6 months all around Europe! – because I can “sell” the importance of communicating about science and I can learn more about their amazing research and the innovations that will help people and improve the European society is a near future.
How important do you feel science communication is in today’s society?
Overall communication is more and more important in today’s society because more and more people have access to more and more information!
This is true especially for science communication because this amount of information leads to a lot of misinformation that can cause great harm to the population. To fight this reality, the scientific community has to spread their own messages.
From a less pessimistic perspective, science communication is also important to promote the research, making it accessible to a large audience throughout the society. It helps mobilise the policymakers, that can adapt the new policies to the actual research; the industry that can bring the research further and the general public that needs to know the innovation that might soon be in their lives.
Do you think more people should engage with science communication? How?
For a large part of the general public, science topics are blurry and complex. They are not completely wrong and that is exactly why more people should engage with science communication because the complex topics are illustrated in visuals to make them more understandable and it most of the time very interesting! Everyone can follow scientific channel on youtube! There are some very fun and easy to understand videos on every scientific topic that exist! This is a small selection just for you:
- Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell My personal favourite!
- Reactions From the American Chemical Society
Also to refer to the previous question, if people engage more with science communication it will be more unlikely for misinformation to have such a big impact.
For the scientific community, it allows it to confront ideas and find new ones, and it also allows the scientists to test their concept with new audiences.
To connect with Caroline you can find her profile on LinkedIn, and follow her projects Diagoras, LSFM4LIFE, New Deal on Twitter!
Twitter: Diagoras: @DiagorasEU
New Deal: @NewDealEU
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 Caroline Estephan (see all)
- Our Sparkling Team Members Episode 3: Caroline Estephan - 21 March 2018
- Creating an EU project video: first steps - 20 December 2017
- World Diabetes Day 2017: LSFM4LIFE, an EU project to find a cure - 15 November 2017