ESConet Trainers: European Network of Science Communication Trainers
ESConet trainers is the European science communication network responsible for carrying out science communication training of Europe's leading FP6 and FP7 scientists on behalf of the European Commission.
ESConet developed a set of learning modules for science communication training workshops. The modules are flexible and easily adaptable to fit the particular needs of the researchers to be trained.
The project also designed two series of three-day residential workshops in both basic science communication practices and advanced, deliberative communication and engagement around key and controversial issues.
The basic level workshop involved:
• media writing, with practical exercises based around writing a press release
• interviews for television or radio
• Web writing and design, making use of good examples from around the world
Trainees were also given background information on how the media deal with research, as well as some of the cultural contexts for engaging the public with science.
The advanced workshops focused on communicating to policymakers, explaining risk, and being involved in genuine dialogue with stakeholders:
• presenting research projects to policy makers and potential funders
• communicating risk to non-expert interest groups
• engaging in dialogue with the public on the relation between science and society, whilst taking account of the interests and expertise of lay citizens and interest groups
The trainees were also given insight into how the social sciences could provide support for their activities and a higher level of understanding of the research-public interface.
In total, the project organised 20 workshops attended by 231 researchers from 34 countries.
Country: United Kingdom
Coordinator: University College London, UK, www.ucl.ac.uk
Target groups: policy makers, researchers, teachers, trainee teachers
Start year: 2007
End year: 2009
Contact person: Professor Steve Miller, University College London, UK, s.miller (at) ucl.ac.uk
ESConet's format of providing residential workshops that enable hard-pressed researchers the time and space to reflect on what they need to do to communicate effectively and honestly has proved highly successful. While there will always be critical comments and room for improvement, almost all feedback has been highly positive.
The ESConet training modules are available online on the project website.
For other training materials, please contact Steve Miller – <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank">s.miller (at) ucl.ac.uk</a>