Science Communication and Advocacy Resources

In the rapidly evolving landscape of science and technology, effective communication stands as a pivotal cornerstone, bridging the gap between complex research findings and a diverse audience spectrum. Science communication and advocacy transcend the traditional confines of academic journals, fostering a culture of informed public discourse, policymaking, and societal progression. By translating intricate scientific concepts into accessible narratives, researchers not only elevate public understanding but also advocate for the indispensable role of science in shaping our collective future. This section delves into the multifaceted world of science communication and advocacy, highlighting its significance, methodologies, and the profound impact it has on fostering a scientifically literate and engaged society.

Useful Link: ISER Young Investigator Blog 

The Importance of Social Media for Scientific Researchers

1. Broaden Impact and Outreach: Social media platforms offer researchers the opportunity to disseminate their work to a wider audience, beyond the scope of traditional publishing.

2. Networking: Connecting with fellow researchers, institutions, and scientific bodies worldwide can lead to collaboration opportunities, conferences, and joint publications.

3. Real-Time Updates: Researchers can stay updated on the latest conferences, workshops, publications, and groundbreaking discoveries.

4. Engage with the Public: It offers a platform to communicate complex scientific concepts in layman's terms, increasing public understanding and appreciation of science.

5. Personal Branding: Building a strong online profile can enhance a researcher's reputation, making them more attractive for grants, speaking engagements, and academic positions.

Popular Social Media Platforms for Researchers

  1. Twitter:
    • Use: Microblogging, networking, conference updates, and research dissemination.
    • Tips: Use relevant hashtags, engage with scientific communities, live-tweet conferences.
  2. LinkedIn:
    • Use: Professional networking, job searching, and sharing research milestones.
    • Tips: Join scientific groups, keep your profile updated, share articles and research findings.
  3. ResearchGate:
    • Use: Sharing publications, asking research-related questions, and networking.
    • Tips: Regularly update your profile with new publications, engage in discussions.
  4. Instagram:
    • Use: Visual storytelling about lab life, fieldwork, and research processes.
    • Tips: Use science-related hashtags, post behind-the-scenes content, engage with followers through stories.
  5. Facebook:
    • Use: Joining science groups, sharing news, and engaging with the general public.
    • Tips: Share visuals, infographics, and videos for higher engagement.
  6. YouTube:
    • Use: Sharing lectures, presentations, experiments, and explainer videos.
    • Tips: Keep videos engaging and concise, collaborate with popular science YouTubers.

Getting Started on Social Media as a Scientist

1.  Define Your Goals: Decide if you want to network, share your research, stay updated, or engage with the public.

2.  Choose the Right Platform(s): Not every platform may be suitable for your needs. Start with one or two and expand as you become comfortable.

3.  Engage Regularly: Consistency is key. Engage with your audience, reply to comments, and post regularly.

4.  Stay Professional: Remember that your online presence reflects your professional persona. Share responsibly and avoid controversies.

5.  Protect Your Work: While sharing is beneficial, avoid giving away too much about unpublished or proprietary research.

Social Media Accounts to Follow:

Patient Advocacy

  • Build Relationships with Patient Advocacy Groups: Scientists can reach out to patient advocacy groups to better understand the needs and perspectives of patients. This can help to inform research priorities and design studies that are more likely to benefit patients.

  • Engage with Patients: It’s important to listen to patients and involve them in the research process. Researchers can engage with patients by participating in patient focus groups, attending patient conferences, and involving patient representatives on research teams.

  • Communicate Effectively: Scientists should communicate their research findings in clear and accessible language to patients and the broader public. This can help patients better understand their condition and the potential benefits of new treatments.

  • Be Transparent: Scientists should be transparent about their research funding sources, potential conflicts of interest, and limitations of their research. This can help to build trust with patients and the public.

  • Advocate for Policies that Benefit Patients: Scientists can use their expertise and research findings to advocate for policies that improve patient outcomes, such as increased funding for research, improved access to treatments, and better patient education.

  • Stay Up-to-Date on Patient Perspectives: Scientists should stay informed on the latest patient perspectives and experiences through patient advocacy groups, social media, and patient-centered conferences.

  • Work Collaboratively: Scientists can collaborate with patient advocacy groups, clinicians, and other researchers to better understand patient needs and develop effective treatments. By working together, scientists can improve patient outcomes and advance medical research.

Lobbying for NIH Funding

  • Know Your Audience: Before you start lobbying for NIH funding, it's important to understand who you're speaking to. Identify your elected officials and learn about their interests, priorities, and past voting records on science and research funding.

  • Prepare Your Message: Develop a clear and concise message that explains the importance of your research and the potential impact it could have on human health. Use real-world examples and personal stories to make your message more compelling.

  • Build Relationships: It's important to establish relationships with your elected officials and their staff. Attend town halls, meet with them in person, and engage with them on social media. Keep them informed about your research and the progress you're making.

  • Join Advocacy Groups: Joining advocacy groups can be a great way to amplify your voice and make a bigger impact. Look for groups that align with your research interests and participate in their advocacy efforts.

  • Collaborate With Other Scientists: Collaborating with other scientists can help you build a stronger case for NIH funding. Work together to write op-eds, sign petitions, and advocate for science and research funding together.

  • Use Data: Use data and statistics to support your message. Provide examples of successful research projects that have received NIH funding and how they've made a difference.

  • Be Persistent: Advocacy is a long-term effort, and it may take time to see results. Stay persistent and continue to advocate for science and research funding even if you don't see immediate results.

Advocacy Day FASEB

Behind Our Science is a podcast that features interviews with scientists and researchers who are working on a variety of interesting and important topics. The podcast provides listeners with a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into scientific research and aims to make complex scientific topics more accessible and understandable for the general public.  This podcast promotes novel scientific research communication in an easily digestible and fun environment to all audiences.

Other Science Podcasts:

  1. Radiolab
  2. Science Vs.
  3. TED Radio Hour 
  4. Hidden Brain 
  5. Ologies with Alie Ward 
  6. The Infinite Monkey Cage 
  7. The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe 
  8. Stuff You Should Know 
  9. 99% Invisible
  10. The Naked Scientists 

Biomedical Podcasts:

  1. The Naked Scientists - A weekly podcast that covers a wide range of topics in science and technology, including biomedical research.
  2. Science Talk - A weekly podcast from Scientific American that covers a range of topics in science, including biomedical research.
  3. Nature Biotechnology - A podcast from the journal Nature Biotechnology that covers the latest news and research in biotechnology and biomedical research.
  4. The Lancet Oncology - A podcast from the journal The Lancet Oncology that covers the latest research and developments in oncology and cancer research.
  5. Cell Podcast - A monthly podcast from the journal Cell that covers the latest research in the fields of cell biology, molecular biology, and biotechnology, including biomedical research.