There is a big difference between academic writing and popular science narratives. Communicating about your results and research questions requires a different set of skills, and engaging with media demands that you know why you engage, who you want to inform or influence, where you can find that audience and what is the best way to speak to them. We talk about priming your audience, framing the issue, explaining to make the audience understand, and proving your point by providing evidence by reporting on your results. In plain language.

In December 2022, we offered a crash course in communications, providing researchers in the Human Brain Project with the tools they need to communicate about results, and research questions. This training is now available to everyone as part of our Ethics & Society training resources.

The training consists of a recorded presentation, covering the basics on how to navigate the media landscape and the basics of popular science writing. The presentation includes principles for good science communication, and talks about transparency, mediatisation and hype. Through the training, you will learn how to turn your narrative around to suit different audiences and how to pick a good headline. And in case you don’t want to do the writing yourself, we provide some basic media training and help you prepare for an interview, answer difficult questions, avoid common traps, and a to-do list in case of negative publicity. In this 50-minute lecture, we talk about impact, transparency, plain language, inclusion and accessibility. The session also covers social media, how Altmetric data works, and why you should bother. We also addresse digital media, and accessible writing, which requires us all to move beyond readable to content that is perceivable.

The training was developed at Uppsala University, where it is currently part of a mandatory curriculum for PhD Students in medicine and pharmacy. Over the years, parts of this training module has been used to build capacity in several European projects, including the Innovative Medicines Initiative PREFER, ConcePTION & AMR Accelerator projects, and Horizon 2020 SIENNA, STARBIOS2 and MINDtheGEPs projects.

Want to communicate like the expert you are? Watch the recorded presentation, or take a look at the full module on the Human Brain Project website!

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