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Event report: “Telling Your Research Story”

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Summary

Over 40 students from different institutions like CSIR-NCL, IISER-Pune, and Savitribai Phule Pune University took part in a workshop on 18th September 2018 to improve their story-telling skills.

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Event Report

“Telling Your Research Story”: Workshop on effective science communication as a prelude to the DST-AWSAR Awards

Venue: Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Lecture Theatre, Polymer and Advanced Materials Laboratory, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory

Date: 18th September 2018

 

Over 40 students from different institutions like CSIR-NCL, IISER-Pune, and Savitribai Phule Pune University took a break from their monotonous routine on a Monday afternoon, 18th September 2018 to take part in improving their story-telling skills. The event co-organized by CSIR-NCL’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Club, Venture Center, and Dialogue (A journal by Indian Academy of Science) was held at CSIR-NCL with the objective of helping students communicate their research stories in a lucid and effective manner to the general audience.

The organizers hosted three speakers for the event in order to cover different verticals of scientific communication viz. writing an article for a scientific journal, for a blog or newspaper, oral presentations etc. The speakers hosted were

  1. Amitabh Sinha, Resident Editor, The Indian Express Pune.
  2. Magesh Nandagopal, Scientist and Technology Manager, NCL Innovations.
  3. Bhas Bapat, Associate Professor, IISER-Pune.

The event was conducted in three sessions:

Session 1 (2.00 – 4.00 pm): Talks from invited speakers.

The individual speaker presented the audience with their views on telling a good research story.

Highlights from Prof. Bhas Bapat’s talk

  • Know your audience.
  • State motivation and goals clearly
  • Structure your presentation, spend a lot of time on building a skeleton for your article or talk.
  • Form follows function i.e. the structure of the article or talk must be in consonance with the content.
  • Well begun is half done
  • Practice, practice, and
  • Speak slowly, clearly and loud enough
  • Watch out for audience response and react accordingly.

 

 Highlights from Dr. Magesh Nandagopal’s talk

  • Keep it simple and easy. Don’t show off.
  • Locate the central idea of your article or talk.
  • The audience does not owe their attention to your article or talk, you must earn it.
  • Make the idea relatable to the audience. Find the hook.
  • Revise, edit, re-write.

 

Highlights from Mr. Amitabh Sinha’s talk

  • Try to get the message across by providing the context and achieving a good trade-off between accuracy and simplification.
  • Unfamiliar subjects need more explanation.
  • Don’t over-simplify
  • Use analogies for making the content relatable.

 

The session was followed by a 15 min Q & A session with speakers. The students received good set of tips on improving their scientific communication. The first session was concluded by presenting mementos to the three speakers by Dr. K. Guruswamy, Scientist, CSIR-NCL

 

Session 2 (4.00 – 5.00 pm): Tea break and write-up preparation

The students who volunteered for receiving feedback on their own research stories were given 1 hour to prepare a one-page write-up.

 

Session 3 (5.00 – 6.00 pm): Mentoring Session

Nearly 13 students prepared write-ups for obtaining feedback from the mentors. Three scientists, Dr. K. Guruswamy, Dr. Chetan Gadgil and Dr. Kumar Vanka from CSIR-NCL volunteered to attend the mentoring session and provide feedback to the interested students. The students received tips and suggestions in a one-to-one mentoring on their prepared write-ups.

 

The event ended with concluding remarks and a vote of thanks from Mr. Ramendra Pandey, Vice-President, NCL-TEC.

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