1069   Insight talk

The Who, What, Why of Science Communication Education in the UK and How it impacts Science Communication

Author: Samuel Ridgeway
UWE Bristol, United Kingdom

A Review of the Enrolment in and Perceptions of formal Science Communication Education in the UK:

Science Communication (SciComm) continues to grow as an industry. Specialised SciComm Masters and other formal education programmes have been developed to teach students and researchers best practice in communicating science and help progress their careers. New research carried out in 2019 reports on the results of a national survey of 167 science communicators, including 93 SciComm MSc alumni, and interviews of 6 programme leaders from various SciComm MSc programmes in the UK.  The quantitative and qualitative analysis provides insight into possible issues of inclusivity and the motives of both the education programmes and those who participate in them. 

Examples of key points highlighted in the discussion include: 
- The career-driven nature of SciComm education (90% of SciComm MSc alumni enrolled in order to improve career and employment opportunities)
- Demographics of qualified science communicators (70% female enrolment in SciComm MSc programmes, vast majority of students identify ethnically as White British)
- The skills and themes learned (for example networking, considering audiences,  and media production)
- Accessibility of training
- Perceptions of the relationship between SciComm and science

The research draws on themes from international studies of the purposes and perceptions of SciComm training whilst also potentially serving as a blueprint for future international data collection to address formal SciComm education and university alumni. This talk is particularly important as those who seek and complete SciComm training often go on to have careers in the field, it is important to understand their perceptions and skills that will ultimately define SciComm in the coming years. By providing an outlook on the state of SciComm education, the talk allows for greater understanding and dialogue of how training can better serve the SciComm community and the audiences we aim to reach.

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