Science Writing and Communication Schools

Science writing and Communication

Applications for the first Scientific Writing and Communication Course are now open!

The course will take place at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi. Sep 7th to Sep 12th. (Deadline for application August 17th 2015).

We are pleased to open the registration process for the first TReND Scientific Writing and Communication Course at Chancellor College. The intensive course, in partnership with the Training Centre in Communication, will include a range of scientific communication topics including organising and writing manuscripts, mastering paper abstracts, tips and tools for good talks to academic and non-academic audiences, and continuing training through the AuthorAID programme. We are very thankful to the Elsevier Foundation for their support of the course, and for our individual crowdfund supporters.

This week-long course will address science communication at all levels, from effectively searching PubMed and other databases, to managing a library of papers, to writing manuscripts, targeting them to journals and responding to reviewers. It will also tackle how to be successful in oral communication in both academic and public settings, and interacting with social media and the press.

Why is it important

The African research scene is improving. Year on year the number of papers produced by, or in collaboration with, African scientists is increasing – from 1996 to 2012 the number of research papers published in scientific journals with at least one African author more than quadrupled. During the same time frame the share of the world’s articles with African authors increased from 1.2% to 2.3%.

However, much research remains unpublished as in institutional journals or published in regional journals that are not yet indexed in international journal databases. The major problem is not that research from Africa is not produced in significant quantity but that it is not always being recognised at the level is it due. Therefore, for increasing the scientific development of Africa an important component is to gain access for its research to those internationally recognised journals and to improve the standards of African journals.

Though publication in scientific journals is important, it is not only though journals that research can be communicated broadly. Scholars can use blogs and social media to spread the word about their research and reach an audience beyond those who have access to journals. The use of traditional media can also not be underestimated.

African research has the potential to tackle Africa-specific problems. Nevertheless, in order to conduct that research you need funds. Those funds come from organisations and funding bodies that want to know why they should give you money.

TReND wants to empower scientists in Africa to carry out the research they want to do, science that can change the future of their countries. Effective communication is key at all stages; through improved writing and communication standards, African research will be strengthened. To contribute to academic knowledge, you have to write papers that are clear to understand. To be successful in obtaining funding you have to be able to tell someone why the research is important. To have maximum impact on society and people’s lives, you have to be able to tell them in words they can understand, in places they can find it.

Course content

In the week long course we will cover:

  • Literature reviews – getting the best out of PubMed and other online databases
  • Personal library management and references
  • Preparing manuscripts – writing and composing for journals
  • Submitting manuscripts – cover letters and replying to reviewers’ comments
  • Capturing your research in short abstracts
  • Choosing appropriate journals for your work
  • Designing poster displays
  • Writing for grants
  • The art of giving academic talks – to colleagues and beyond
  • Communicating broadly – writing and talking to the public
  • Communicating broadly – writing and talking to the press
  • Communicating to the policyholders
  • The AuthorAID programme

Our Partners

TReND SciWriComm partners

Who do we target

Early career African researchers at the graduate level and upwards.

Course requirements: familiarity with word processing and presentation programmes (e.g. Word and Powerpoint), a basic familiarity with molecular biology, genetics and evolution, and some experience with writing scientific literature and giving presentations. The course will then build on these to introduce participants to more advanced writing and presentation techniques.

The course will be intensive and a strong motivation and drive is required. Participants will be selected on written statements on how they expect to benefit from the course and concerning their interest in biological sciences. There will be no attendance fee, but the students will be selected based on merit.

To express an initial interest, please fill in this form.