Research Communications Workshop

Digital | 30 November 2014 |

We have just completed a two-half day workshop for researchers at the UNU in Tokyo (25-26 November 2014) on the topic of research and science communications. It was our first time to experiment with this format, i.e. only organizing sessions from 9.20am to 1pm. Our concern was that researchers are generally very busy and we did not want to take up too much of their time.

Around thirty UNU researchers, communications and library staff attended. The topics covered included: (1) how to ensure your that research resonates with your audience, (2) the importance of good design, (3) writing about your research, (4) developing content for the web, and (5) understanding social media. Although originally designed as a competency course covering 15 ninety minute sessions, this shortened format focused more on stimulating a dialogue between researchers and communications specialists.

We received a lot of very positive feedback from the participants and requests for follow-up workshops in the near future. Some of the specific comments raised included:

  • The Office of Communications should tailor workshops for many different audiences within UNU, as what is relevant to each project might differ.
  • The effort and time put into communications depend on the funding available. Hands-on experience in how to communicate cost/time-efficiently was encouraged.
  • On social media, although it was helpful and interesting to be introduced to all the different channels, it was quite overwhelming with the many platforms available. More emphasis could be placed on showing which social media platforms are the most relevant to the research community.
  • Regular training of researchers in the future would be very welcome.
  • As the researchers are usually on their own, the concern is that a single person can’t handle complex communications challenges by themselves.
  • On a slightly different note, it was mentioned that there is a lack of general communication within and across institutions and programmes, which makes it hard to collaborate and learn from each other’s experience. This is something that can be addressed by creating more opportunities for researchers to interact.

The Office of Communications will host similar workshops at the UNU in Tokyo in the future and elsewhere in cooperation with other institutes, including through the use of video conferencing.

Research Communication Workshop
Brendan Barrett provides information on how to use social media
Research Communication Workshop
Sean Wood explains how to develop a websiite