Should you become a STEM communicator?

For many people who work in STEM, and especially those in research, science communications or 'scicomm' has become an essential part of their job. But if you're not already engaged in scicomm, should you start?
Why communicate science?
Science is in demand: Journalists are always looking for stories, politicians and campaigners need information to develop policy, fellow citizens want to understand the world around them, and entrepreneurs are looking for new products. STEM research has never had such a wide and varied audience.

On the other side of the coin, STEM institutions are realising that clear and accessible communication of their research is essential to building good relationships with – and gaining the approval of – their communities. Funders are also seeing the value, and frequently request that grant applicants explain how they are going to communicate their findings to stakeholders and the public. And employers, whether in academia or industry, increasingly recognise t...

 

 

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Posted in Skills & Training.

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for yieng yieng says:

    For those interested in scicomm:

    To what extent, and under what circumstances, is a degree in science communication (such as the masters offered at Imperial College London) handy?

  2. Avatar for Suw Suw says:

    That’s an interesting question! I didn’t have any formal education as a journalist or science communicator when I started writing professionally. I’d worked on my student newspaper at university, then worked in science publishing as an editorial assistant, so freelance journalism was a relatively easy step for me. I did end up doing an online course, which was extremely useful and filled in some of the gaps around pitching and process that I had.

    It is possible to work in some STEM comms areas without a degree, but then you are missing out on a lot of useful information, the opportunity to network, and feedback on your work. A lot of online news outlets will show interest in pitches from unknown freelancers, but I would imagine that it would be much harder to break into radio or TV without having that education.

    Having looked at the Imperial masters program, I find that I’m wishing someone had suggested something like that to me when I graduated!

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