Sci Comm Careers 101: @SciCommSocLDN

An American journalist in the audience described SciComm London’s careers speed-dating as a ‘Giant’ session of ‘free therapy’ and said it had restored her faith in the crazy country we’ve created over the past few weeks. There were some pretty epic panelists, from comms experts to big dogs in public engagement, directors of galleries and coordinators of science shows at media festivals:

   

What’s important:

  • Never leave a job after less than a year, preferably two
  • Use each job to develop skills for the next job you want- find out what you want to do and shape where you are to train yourself
  • Never expect to be paid well for science communication
  • An academic CV is nothing like a CV in real life
  • For volunteering/ ‘outreach’ positions, detail these in a cover letter
  • Unfortunately, university ‘widening participation and outreach’ departments become a holding spot for PhD graduates
  • Whilst most people acknowledge you don’t need a science PhD or degree, lots of places request it now as a prerequisite. It’s important to say what you can bring to a position (enthusiasm, overview, communication skills- “translating public science into culture”)
  • Clever comms officers treat research groups like knowledge mineshafts, loaded with knowledge and understanding. Comms teams can shout up the important parts.
  • If you’re uncomfortable about your job title, learn a few sentences that describe what you do
  • Never run a pop-up science shop 7 days a week- it gets exhausting
  • There is no need to have an MSci in Science Communication to succeed in science communication
  • If you’re considering doing a PGCE, it’s probably worth it, and can be a passport to teaching for life
  • The data in the BSA’s Public Engagement Survey isn’t 100 % legit- perhaps not 66 % of science communicators are not women… perhaps just 66 % of BSA survey respondents are women
  • Science can be powerfully used to inspire public dialogue and debate
  • Moving from ‘hands-on’ science communication to management means a loss of the ‘warm fuzzy’ instant gratification
  • Science funding might be changing, to focus on people creating futures
  • There’s loads and loads of money being pumped into science communication now

Oh, and then evening was spent here, discussing robots with the Lords.

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