Author: Laura McLister – Edinburgh Science, United Kingdom

Whether you call it science communication, public engagement in STEM or science engagement, we all belong to a community of professionals trying to communicate or connect people to STEM topics or messages. Although at our core we are all in the same business, as an industry (in the UK) there is very little in the way of structured continual professional development. For some this results in a lack of core skills not only required for delivering public engagement but also in how to strategise communication. There are of course examples of excellent science communication but often as an industry we are working on these in isolation. In fact, in a study conducted in 20171, it was found not only is the provision of professional development very low, but maybe not surprisingly, as a sector there is very little agreement in what quality practice in science communication looks like.

Here at Edinburgh Science we believe that it is time for transformation. In 2018 Edinburgh Science was awarded as part of PLACE (Platforms for Creative Excellence Programme) funding to establish a professional development framework for the Scottish science engagement community and its creative and artistic partners.

I would like to explore the process that we, Edinburgh Science — as an organisation at the heart of this diverse sector, have been taking a holistic approach to create this framework as well as present the framework as it currently stands. The talk would examine what areas we have had to explore and define, what questions and issues it has raised, as well as the framework and how this is feeding into plans to create a professional training academy for both development and delivery of science engagement activities.

1 Featherstone, Dillon, Johnson & Manners (2018) ‘Scoping the Professionalisation of Public Engagement with STEM’

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

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Transformation