659   Insight talk

The Impact of Science Communication Competitions on the Capacities of the Next Generation of Science Communicators

Author: Mohamed Elsonbaty Ramadan
Freelance Science Journalist and Science Communication Consultant, Egypt

Public communication of science and technology (PCST) has gained increasing importance and recognition worldwide, due to the expansion of science and technology, as well as the change in ideas and attitudes towards the place of science in society. Therefore, many different training opportunities are offered to members of the scientific community to prepare them for PCST. One route is through flash talks science communication competitions, where participants are challenged to present a scientific topic in an accessible way to non-specialist audiences in few minutes. Examples of these competitions include FameLab, Three Minute Thesis, and Science Slam. However, little research has been conducted on the impact of such competitions on science communication skills of the participants.

The aim of this research will be to investigate the impact of science communication competitions on science communication skills of undergraduate and postgraduate students, early career researchers, and established scholars. The following objectives have been identified to achieve this aim: exploring different science communication competitions worldwide; analyzing science communication competitions’ impacts on participants’ science communication skills; and comparing science communication competitions with other means of training in PCST. This research will use mixed methods combining qualitative and quantitative strategies, through adopting different research designs as experimental and comparative designs, where semi-structured interviews, pre- and post- questionnaires, focus groups and online questionnaires will be used.

This research will contribute to science communication research through: better understanding of the role of science communication competitions in developing science communication skills; identifying best practices for achieving maximum impacts of science communication competitions; and developing a theoretical framework for improved training in PCST. From these, a deeper understanding of science communication competitions and their impacts on enhancing public communication of science will be derived, where there is a gap in science communication research.

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