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New framework for courses in science communication

Researchers need to share their knowledge, so that it benefits society. A new report presents a framework for how communicating research can become a natural part of third cycle higher education.

In order to share knowledge so that it benefits society, researchers need opportunities to train how to communicate. They also need time to reflect on issues relating to how best to interact with different groups, and on what strategies, methods and techniques might be suitable to use.

Today, communication training is not a given part of third cycle education, although several higher education institutions offer courses and coaching in communication.

In a new report, the Swedish Research Council together with a team of researchers and communication experts present a framework in three parts for how courses in science communication can be designed.

“We have seen strong engagement, both from the team and from those taking part in meetings where we have presented the ideas. This shows the importance of working with this issue,” says Anna Maria Fleetwood at the Swedish Research Council, who led the work of the team.

The report gives an overview of what science communication can be, and how it can be carried out effectively. It also reports on lessons drawn from a course held at Örebro University. The team’s recommendations are based on discussions about how researchers, particularly those in the early stages of their careers, can be better equipped to present their research, take part in societal debate, and collaborate with stakeholders outside academia.

The recommendations are aimed at those who are responsible for course design in third cycle higher education, or who supervise doctoral students – and at others who are engaged in the area. The aim is to inspire higher education institutions, faculties and individuals to further develop and collaborate on science communication and communication training for doctoral students.

“By equipping researchers to communicate, we also increase the opportunities for research to have impact among groups such as decision-makers, who currently perhaps do not have time to familiarise themselves with scientific findings,” establishes Anna Maria Fleetwood.

Framework for courses in science communication

The framework will be presented in Swedish at a webinar on 14 October in collaboration with the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF)
Register on SUHF’s website no later than 10 October

A webinar in English will be held later in the autumn – information will be published on SUHF´s website.

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