Science communication and Outreach

Science Communication broadly describes the practice of communicating science-related topics to non-expert audiences.

This might include young people, politicians, journalists, education professionals, young people and so on. Science is increasingly featured in the media, and in recent years there has been a significant investment in the development of science visitor attractions, science-related media campaigns and science festivals, to involve more of the public in science. As a result, increasing opportunities exist in this line of work for highly-qualified STEM specialists with a sound understanding of their discipline and a passion for communicating science to wider audiences.

Related to science communication are:

  • Public Engagement: aims to engage the general public in two-way scientific conversations, usually about shared issues and problems, for society’s benefit
  • Outreach: activities such as public lectures, activities and workshops to encourage the public understanding of science and scientific research. This also includes work done by universities, professional bodies and other organisations to encourage young people to study STEM subjects
  • Research Communication: Research Communications and Science Communications Officers and Managers are often found in universities and in scientific (and other) charities. Work focuses on communicating the importance of and findings of research to the public and other external audiences; in charities, work may also include developing communications campaigns to recruit new supporters as well as media and PR activities. Postgraduate qualifications are often either essential or desirable

Important skills for working in this field include excellent communication and presentation skills; enthusiasm for science and for inspiring this enthusiasm in others; event organisation; ability to communicate complex information in an accessible way; critical evaluation; determination and resilience in seeking out experience and opportunities.

Work in this field could include science journalism, public relations, museum education and ‘science explaining,’ events organisation and project management. Some specialist MSc courses in Science Communication are on offer in the UK, but most important in accessing jobs in this field is gaining some relevant communications experience and networking extensively.

Opportunities to gain experience include:

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