RAw Communications and Engagement (RACE): Teaching Science Communication Through Modular Design
This project is motivated by an increasing demand from public bodies and research funding agencies for outreach and public engagement, believing this to be a path towards enhanced public understanding, recruitment and research with impact. Yet many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates and professionals lack the appropriate communication skills required to engage with the public. To address some of these issues, the project RACE (RAw Communication and Engagement) was jointly initiated by universities and industrial partners across Europe. Through the design and implementation of adaptable modules incorporating content knowledge, scientific communication and public engagement skills, this international project aims to equip students and researchers alike to ground their work within the wider global society and communicate their research with public audiences. A key feature is the direct incorporation of actual public engagement activities into RACE modules, for the mutual benefit of participants and wider society. Given this, the chapter will take a practitioner perspective to shed light on the inner workings of a modular scientific communication course. Core issues of engagement, bridging theory and practice, evaluation and collaboration are all highlighted through reflections and research data from implementing the RACE programme as a Ph.D. summer school with doctoral-level students. The chapter is concluded by bringing forward core teaching and learning protocols that are integral to running the RACE programme.
This project is funded by the EIT Raw Materials KIC Project 15028, No. FPA 2016/EIT/EIT Raw Materials. This publication has also received support through the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund under Grant 12/RC/2275, as well as the Centre for Discipline-Based Education Research in Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Technology (MINT) at Uppsala University. We would also like to thank the significant contribution of Prof. Daniel Brandell, Uppsala University, and Dr. Paul McCrory of Learn Differently Ltd. in the implementation of the project.
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