Author: Will Grant – Australian National University, Australia

Inger Mewburn – ANU
Hanna Suominen – ANU & Data61/CSIRO

PhD students and graduates are perhaps the most potent mechanism for enabling collaboration, communication and knowledge transfer between universities and industry. Yet Australia stands out amongst developed countries for the relative disinterest non-academic employers display towards PhD graduates. Australia has, as former Chief Scientist Professor Chubb noted, “one of the lowest numbers of researchers in business enterprises in developed nations.”

This is a critical issue for contemporary Australian science communication. If we are not connecting our researchers with the places in industry where they can have enormous impact – and if we are not demonstrating to Australian industry that these researchers can add enormous value to their bottom line – then we have failed in a core part of our duty.

As Chief Scientist, Professor Chubb asked if the reason for this gap was a cultural problem amongst Australian industry, or a failing in our Phd training process. For him it was both.

This paper reports on two phases of a project designed to help address both the problematic cultural perceptions and the training of our research workforce.

The first element of this project has been to map the non-academic demand for Australia’s research workforce using a machine learning-based natural language processing (ML-NLP) algorithm that can ‘read’ job advertisements and sort them according to research skills intensity. This mapping has revealed a range of unexpected findings, including a much higher demand for Australia’s research workforce than expected, yet a demand framed in terms that speak poorly to the workers desired.

Following on from this initial mapping, we are now in the production phases of a web implementation designed to better match Australia’s Phd candidate cohort with ‘dream jobs’ outside of academia.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Influencing policies through science communication

Author: Will Grant – Australian National University, Australia

Co-author: Rod Lamberts – ANU

Look at you: you’ve had a long hard day of conferencing. You’ve thought the deep thoughts, networked your network, and powered through your 200 slide presentation in 12 minutes (new PB!). Now it’s time for real conference business. Drinks, gossip, and talking about all the things you just couldn’t discuss in your 11 minute roundtable, interactive, 360 degree, petcha-koochie, un-lecture, workshop, story circle session.

We hear you, PCST.

What you need is a nice Wholesome Evening that dissects everything science communication can’t, won’t and shouldn’t do. An evening that involves dubious beverages, 2 semi-qualified hosts, and a roster of 4 international luminaries of sci comm.

Featuring literally no research and close to zero preparation, The Wholesome Show will irreverently digest PCST 2018. We’ll ask our luminaries the big questions: What’s awesome right now in science communication? What’s dreadful? What should we just leave the hell alone and never speak of again?

What are we proposing?

The Wholesome Show is a podcast and live show hosted by Dr Rod Lamberts and Dr Will Grant of the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science ANU. In their normal mode they have lighthearted pub chats with interesting people most of us would never normally meet: Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Alan Alda, a number of Nobel prize winners, the heads of major research agencies, and even a right wing journo or two. The Wholesome Show prides itself on asking the dumb questions so their audience doesn’t have to.

What do we need? 

We’ve got the beginnings of a plan: we need a pub, a speaker system, room for 80-150 guests, and beer. We’ll interview about 4 people for 20 minutes each. A Vice-Chancellor? A minister for Science? An All-Black? Or some of the best presenters from the rest of the conference? That’s yet to be decided.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Perfomance
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices