Outreach activities or how to communicate your research to a wider audience

posted in: AdMoRe-updates | 0

Doing research is an adventure, where you have to explore the unknown. During this journey, you will face multiple questions, doubts and during the process, you will formulate your own hypotheses. In order to support the decisions that you will take along the path, is a good practice to read the previous work of researchers on the same or a similar field. And then, sooner or later, the following question will arrive at you: “Could you explain to me about your research project, please?”.

If you are attending a technical conference, this question does not represent a big deal, as we are used to talk in technical terms between fellows that work in the same field and normally, we invest between 2-3 slides to introduce the problem description before proceeding with our technical presentation. But now imagine the opposite situation: How to communicate your research work to a non-technical and wider audience?

I am sure that we have faced this question indirectly multiple times, for example during a family dinner or in the middle of an evening with friends. Maybe at that moment, you didn’t prepare a proper speech but you tried to find the most simple language to answer why, who, what and how about that question and communicate your work. Congratulations, without knowing, you made a basic outreach activity.

Now, maybe you are interested in the topic but you do not know how to give the first step. That is why I have prepared a short list of 5 possible activities to start with:

1. Youtube on your work: in formats like “my thesis in 3-4 min”.

2. Blog about your research: contribute to a science blog.

3. Science speed dating: speak with one another, ask questions, and learn about specific areas of research.

4. Science Slam: present your scientific work in a non-traditional way.

5. SciArt: Communication of research by photography or comics.

…then if you want to know more, at the end of the post I include two references with even more ideas [1-2].

Communication is the key and here it resides the importance of doing outreach activities. As researchers, besides our technical background, we need to train our skills in this field as well in order to bring our work outside academia. The final goal is to share knowledge, to contribute to education or who knows, to inspire young generations. Why is this important? Because most of the time, research is funded by public funding, as the case of the AdMoRe project, and by promoting this type of activities is one of the multiple ways to payback to society.

Now is your turn. I kindly invite you to engage in an outreach activity and enjoy the experience. And in order to lead by example, here you can find a short video that I made inside of the AdMoRe project where I explain my research topic called “Fast-simulation assisted shape correction after machining”.



[1] http://www.scivic.org/science-outreach-ideas-the-running-list/

[2] https://blogs.agu.org/sciencecommunication/2014/10/16/now-fun-part-choosing-outreach-activities/