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Detailed programme

Detailed programme

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Scientific writing - Workshop description

Andrea Gwosdow

This workshop will provide the basic tips and tools needed to write journal articles and present their work. The sections of a journal article will be reviewed so participants will understand what information is required for each section. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on writing activities, participants will gain knowledge and writing experience on the basics of writing journal articles and presenting their work.

Magdalena Bak-Maier

This practical workshop is for academic staff actively bidding for funding. Using real examples, evaluation tools as well as good practice models for developing, drafting and improving research grant applications, the workshop will help participants understand what they are doing well and concrete areas where they need to improve to ensure success. Following registration, participants will have an opportunity to help custom-shape the workshop content to ensure a productive and enjoyable event.

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Science Communication to the Public – presentations

Baudouin Jurdant
Why should science be popularized?

Since its renewal in XVIIth century and as it was gradually growing in Europe, science has been popularized, expanding its knowledgeability to wider and wider circles including popular audiences in XXth century. One might wonder why such an expansion was felt necessary, especially at the beginning. It is difficult to appeal to some kind of democratic urge at the time as we would certainly do nowadays. Galileo’s case is worth being considered in this light. Not only his scientific writings were plain and clear, but what should capture our attention is his preference for a dialogical form in order to present his scientific ideas. The two characters of Sagredo and Simplicio in the dialogues do represent different audiences to which Galileo was addressing his views. But the very act of writing in ordinary language was important also because, instead of presenting his ideas about the world as if they would come from the world itself, he was forced to commit himself, as Salviati, in his presentation.

The purpose of this intervention is to show that popularization of science is not only aiming at increasing the level of scientific literacy amongst popular audiences (even though its didactic impact on these audiences is quite disputable !) but that it might also and moreover be very beneficial for scientists themselves. Not for them to get acquainted with new ideas or facts, but to help them at being reflexive when talking about the science they are doing in their labs.

I shall present these ideas as a discussion of Michel Crozon’s statement who, when asked to explain why he was popularizing his high energy physics knowledge, answered : « I am popularizing science in order to understand better what I am doing as a scientist. » Briefly said, popularization of science can be viewed as the way science tries to conform Rabelais’s requirement that « science without conscience is the ruin of the soul. »

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Carlos Catalão Alves
Science communication for learning

The scientific community is being increasingly called upon to work with educators to help reverse the declining interest of students in scientific careers. It is widely recognized that both scientific research institutions and science centres have an invaluable part to play in learning. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that this input from the scientific community provides opportunities for learners to understand the nature of scientific challenges, their application to real-world problems and ultimately, their societal implications, through first hand contact with the processes of science and the cultural environment in which they take place.

This presentation will deliver a research-based approach to the dilemmas and alternatives found at the junction of science communication and education.

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José Vítor Malheiros
DIY Communication

The fact that most scientific organizations have communication or public affairs offices and people with the necessary skills to communicate what they do, doesn't mean that a scientist should rely only on their efforts to see his/her work correctly communicated to the community. What should a scientist do, at a personal level, to communicate his/her work? What skills should he/she acquire? What tools can/should he/she use?

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Nathalie Caplet
Science communication: Facing the highs and lows

So now you’re convinced… getting involved in science communication is an important mission as a scientist, an asset for your future and an enriching experience not to be missed! As you are finding out during these few days, there are many ways of getting involved. Whichever one you choose, you probably have some idea of what you imagine it’s going to be like: exciting, scary, difficult, rewarding… it’s often all of that at the same time. Let’s see what some of the scientists who went through the experience have to say, what happens when the researchers bravely venture on “the other side”, what can YOU expect… Some real life experiences, told by someone who tried, got hooked and took the plunge… I hung up my labcoat and have been working for 10 years in a science centre witnessing other scientists getting involved and facing the highs and lows of science communication themselves !


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Vicent J. Martínez
The many ways of science communication

In this contribution we will review how scientists should act to engage the public to science
in many different ways.

I will focus more on How, trying to learn about successful (or else) experiences of many scientists in different media: in front of a live audience, in a web page, in an article for a magazine or a newspaper, writing books, making a video for youtube, talking to a camera in a TV program, or even dealing with special audiences (communicating astronomy to blind people, for example).

In all these cases, I will try to put the emphasis in the need for the scientist to transmit his/her
own passion for the topic he/she wants to communicate. The public should share with him/her the enthusiasm about what is a fascinating story. This is the most important point: when a scientist is communicating with a general audience, the scientist is telling a story. This is quite different from just translating to the layman language the results that were published on a scientific paper.

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Olivier Moch
Scientists are truly eager to be understood by the public. Truly?


Scientists go on saying they are eager to be understood by the public. They claim everyone could and should be in a position to understand the state of the art of the knowledge in “their” science and assess what’s really at stake in socio-economical consequences.
Such affirmations are parts of today’s “scientific political correctness”.

This leads to two series of questions:

  • Is it true that scientists or scientific institutions really try their utmost to engage with the public? Or do they (sometimes!) tend to play a role that will give them self esteem? Is engaging with the public a core part of research activity or is it viewed as a simple “plus”? Can scientists organise their links with the public so that all sides of their scientific activity can benefit from it?
  • Then, when scientists (or scientific institutions) engage with the public, do they raise the good questions, which are of interest to the public, or do they focus on those that they view themselves as most interesting? Do they deal with this public in the professional way they implement in other parts of their work?

In practice it is clearly difficult exactly to follow what would be a rational progression:

1. Explicit which public to address 2. Understand this public’s expectations 3. Make clear what to aim at (delivering a message, raising awareness, teaching science, making known the daily life of scientists, organising a debate, etc.) 4. Choose the best suited “medium” (lectures, exhibitions, TV or radio broadcasts, IT means, forums, etc.) for the action, 5. Look for possible adequate partners, 6. Direct the “show”, 7. Welcome the public … and (at the very end): Draw the conclusions of the whole action.

Do scientists need a help along the different steps of this progression? Is there a need for professional advice?

The science communication workshop might be an opportunity to discuss some of these questions.

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Communication to the public - practicals

Carlos Catalão Alves
Talking science: a apractical approach

An overview of the dos and don'ts of oral science communication. Participants will undergo a casting, where they have the opportunity to show whether they master the trade of science communication for the wider public. The jury will decide ...

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José Vítor Malheiros

Participants will learn about what makes a press release newsworthy from a reporter’s point of view and will practice writing press releases. Participants will also have the chance to get acquainted with interviews and understand why researchers sometimes feel they have been misquoted.

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