Wednesday 24 June 2009

Furthering your science communication education

Interested in science communication? Love travelling? Then joining the 2010 Shell Questacon Science Circus might be for you. Their slogan this year is "Got your science degree, now get your backpack!"

If you are a recent science or technology graduate and enjoy science communication, then you can earn a prestigious Graduate Diploma from ANU, work with Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, and travel Australia communicating science in cities, towns, outback stations, indigenous communities, schools, nursing homes, just about everywhere. As far as I can tell, there aren't any science communication courses like this anywhere in the world.

Your fees are paid for, and you also receive an additional scholarship. You are trained in science communication from top scientists, journos, radio presenters and performers.

I did the course in 2001 and it was fantastic. To get in, you'll need to be as good looking as these folk and this lot. Not only have I now seen places in Australia that barely anyone gets to see, but I had a ball and made contacts in science communication fields. Plus, you are on tour much of the year and believe it or not, when you aren't, Canberra is a pretty good place to live.

Applications close 31 August - see the circus website for more information.

For my reflections on the 2001 year, see my Science Circus flickr photo set (I really should scan some more photos and put them up - ah, a time before digital cameras were popular...) and this ridiculous story and podcast - if you're game, listen to the podcast of that episode to hear me sing... I have improved my sound recording since then, but not my singing.

If you happen to be at the other end of your science communication post-grad education, the Public Communication of Science and Technology Network is collecting information about PhD theses completed since 2000 on topics in science communication and closely related areas. This
information, with a classification by topic area and country, will be published on their web site and a review will be presented at PCST11 conference in 2010.

This exercise is intended to provide an overview of current and recent research in the growing field of science communication that will support those starting in the field. It is also intended to promote networking between researchers in science communication.

Information is sought on doctoral theses that addressed mainly or exclusively topics such as science in media, public communication by scientists and scientific institutions, history of popularisation, science museums and science centres, science festivals and events, public consultation in science-related policy, risk communication on science-related issues, and so on.

For each thesis, they seek the following details:
  • Title;
  • author;
  • affiliation (university or similar);
  • date of completion;
  • supervisor(s);
  • examiner(s);
  • abstract (approx 250 words);
  • where accessible (online or print).
Brian Trench of Dublin City University and and Maarten van der Sanden of Delft University of Technology are leading this project. Summaries of theses should be sent by 1 October to

And if you do have a science communication PhD, make sure you dance it!


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