Blog: Science Communication - A day in the life, Emma Dierickx
Earlier this year I came into contact with Catalyze and got the opportunity to take up a hybrid position in project management and science communication, which came at exactly the right time! Often when I mention what I do, I hear the phrase, “Science communication, that sounds interesting”, followed by, “but what is it?”
Linking academia, business and various publics
After completing a bachelor’s in biomedical sciences and psychobiology I studied for my master’s in science communication. The first thing I thought I would be doing was writing about science. I wrote down all my expectations before starting – an old exercise.. and I was not wrong, but it’s so much more! I learned about the complex interplay between science and society, or rather, that the academic and “other” worlds are more interwoven than expected. I was interested by philosophy of science, as well as more applied subjects, such as the push to make research and innovation as democratic and socially robust as possible.
I love learning about the bigger pictures surrounding different research topics and thinking about societal impacts of innovations, including how to ensure the best possible interaction between the parties involved.
Science communication practice
Most science communication practices that I’ve encountered so far are essentially about facilitating fruitful interactions between two or more parties that speak different scientific and/or non-scientific languages. More practically, this can mean two-way communication between researchers and patients or end-users, translating scientific literature for different target audiences, and making different science-related media such as videos and podcasts. Essentially, activities aimed at improving societal dialogues on science and innovation.
In our team we have developed science communication packages suitable for different purposes with the aim of helping organizations and projects reach their communication goals. These goals range from more interaction with patient communities, to including stakeholders’ input in early-stage research, to meeting EU dissemination requirements.
Day-to-day: fueling my curiosity
It sounds like a cliché to say, “No two days are the same! It’s so diverse!”, but I don’t think I can put it any other way. What I do in my position is mostly science communication practice for EU funded projects, but also for other clients, such as patient organizations. This means that after communication objectives and strategy have been set up together with the client, I support them in a range of tasks to meet those objectives. This includes facilitating dissemination meetings, advising researchers on how to adapt their content to different audiences, writing such content, building websites and managing social media. And that’s far from all!
I like being involved in so many different activities and getting insights into so many interesting research topics and innovative projects. One day I’m working with people developing an artificial womb, and the next I’m posting videos about a stem cell therapy for chronic lower back pain. It’s what makes my ever-so-curious brain happy. In turn, our team can make important contributions to the interactions between science and society.
Helping our clients reach their communication potential
What I’ve learned in my current role, is that while many scientists consider science communication an important part of their work, not everyone is comfortable stepping into the spotlight outside of research journals and conferences. However, their work is incredibly valuable, and the world should know about it! In the future, I hope to support many more of our clients by providing them tools to help them make impact.
Learn more about our Science Communication & EU Project Dissemination services