Science Communications Workshop

About the Workshop

Effective communication is an essential part of research. As part of their day to day responsibilities, researchers must communicate their work via a wide range of modalities including academic publications, grant proposals, reports, lectures, conference presentations, speeches, interviews, etc. A major challenge that many researchers face is the ability to communicate their work clearly, concisely and confidently, particularly to non-expert audiences. This training workshop incorporates creative elements from the worlds of performance and improvisation to address these gaps. By the end of the training, participants will have a clear and compelling "research elevator speech" that effectively conveys what they do, why they do it, and why it matters. Participants will be invited to present their research pitches developed during the workshop in a friendly competition judged by a panel of faculty members. The tools and skills that will be developed during this training are fully transferable and will enable participants to improve their communication in both academic and non-academic settings. 

Target Audience

A maximum of 20 participants who are Dartmouth postdocs, graduate students, or advanced undergraduates in an area relevant to the mission of the Irving Institute (energy, climate, society). 

Training Team

Dr. Rose Mutiso'08, TH'08: a scientist-practitioner straddling academia, policy, and public engagement (bio). Science communication spotlight: Rose's TED talks on the future of African energy have been viewed over 3.5 million times.  

Dr. Jessamyn Fairfield: an award-winning physicist, comedian, and improviser (bio). Science communications spotlight: Jessamyn is the founder, director, and MC of Bright Club Ireland, a research comedy variety night, podcast, and YouTube channel.  

Jessamyn and Rose co-designed this training workshop, and Rose will lead the session in-person at Dartmouth with the support of staff from the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.  

Pre-Workshop Assignment

You are at a cocktail party, and meet a reporter for the New York Times who is launching a newsletter focused on highlighting interesting research relevant to issues of energy, climate, and society for their audience of curious but non-expert readers. The reporter asks you to drop them an email giving them a quick overview of your work so they can assess if it could be a potential fit for a feature in the newsletter.  Draft a paragraph in response to this request.