Science communication toolkit

The following practical tools have been developed by experts to help science communicators, researchers, journalists and policy makers add quality, impact and influence to their science engagement activities.

Photo of the science communication toolkit

1. Work effectively with the media

  • Become skilled at using social media – blog, tweet & podcast
    Access online short videos focused on blogging, tweeting and podcasting that raise awareness of how to promote science and research messages.
    www.sciencemediasavvy.org.au
  • Researchers: learn how to use social media to communicate & network
    Science Media Space teaches you practical skills in using social media more effectively to communicate your research and build networks. The online course gives you tools, knowledge, practice and direct feedback.
    www.sciencemediaspace.com.au or bridge8.wordpress.com/social-media-for-scientists
  • Learn to speak to the media
    Learn how to pitch a story and make it newsworthy, how to handle a media interview and work with journalists through this online program.
    www.sciencemediasavvy.org.au
  • Public forums to talk about the latest science and research in Australia
    Participate in a series of ten face-to-face forums. Each will include an opportunity for scientists to discuss relevant and topical issues that can be used to inform the public about developments in science and scientific research.
    www.scienceandtechnologyaustralia.org.au
  • Media and communication skills – training for young science researchers
    Fresh Science is an annual national training activity that brings together scientists from across Australia to engage with the media and the public. It provides an opportunity for young scientists to increase the level of coverage of their research, and emphasises the role of science in Australian society.
    www.freshscience.org.au
  • Experience life in a newsroom as a scientist in residence
    Scientists can experience life in a newsroom through a two-week placement with a newspaper publisher. Provide expert scientific advice while gaining valuable insight into the media world.
    (In development)
  • Access graphics, animations and visuals for breaking news
    Science Media Exchange provides an online space for posting and sharing science-related visual material to enhance the messages of scientists, science communicators and journalists.
    www.smc.org.au

2. Communicate science through the media

  • Science journalism: free online resources teach you how to report on science
    These six free modules are recommended for working journalists and undergraduate/postgraduate students Learn about and then practise reporting on scientific topics in any media.
    scijourno.com.au
  • Introduce school students to science and the media
    A series of resources developed for school science students and delivered in class which discuss science and how it is covered in the media. These resources can be used as preparation to tackle a topic with students or as resources to engage students in science.
    www.riaus.org.au
  • Improve your science literacy and communication skills
    Interactive online sessions are available for journalists to improve their understanding of science and how to communicate science-related topics to a general audience.
    www.smc.org.au
  • Research, data results
    Find information on science, science activities and attitudes to science with this compilation of data from peer-reviewed literature, reports, census polls and attitudinal surveys.
    www.sciencengage.com.au

3. Build success through strategy and collaboration

  • Approach science engagement strategically – national recommendations
    Learn how to align your support for science in Australia through the Inspiring Australia report. See what research agencies, education providers, the business sectors as well as cultural and community organisations have said about working together for a scientifically engaged Australia.
    www.industry.gov.au/inspiringaustralia
  • Align with best practice principles
    Shape best practice solutions for science engagement with the Inspiring Australia Framework of Principles. The Framework has been adopted by the Australian, state and territory governments to guide the development of science engagement initiatives.
    www.industry.gov.au/inspiringaustralia
  • Aligning with the experts
    Inform your science activities with expert recommendations on improving science engagement and operations in key areas throughout Australia. 6 reports are available outlining the findings of experts in their field.
    www.industry.gov.au/inspiringaustralia
  • A regional approach
    Inspiring Australia has state and territory officers in place to assist you in strengthening your science communication and networks. Identify partnerships and linkages by working with Inspiring Australia Officers, who can help you identify local and regional needs and provide up-to-date information about the state of science engagement locally.
    inspiringaustralia.net.au/about-us/contact-us

4. Plan your events and activities

  • Snapshot of science engagement and research
    Contribute to research in science communication while gaining visibility for your event or activity. You can now upload your data on science engagement, find potential partners for funding and collaboration or see how Australians respond to science engagement activities.
    www.sciencengage.com.au
  • Science engagement survey results – interactive map
    When planning your next event, visit the interactive database of survey data from the National Audit of Science Engagement Activity. The information can be used to identify gaps, groups, regions, and collaborative opportunities around Australia in science communication.
    www.asc.asn.au/science-engagement-in-australia
  • Organise and promote your National Science Week event
    Find out how to run an event during National Science Week by downloading a practical guide on How to run a public event and How to generate publicity. You will also find helpful templates for media releases, surveys and posters.
    www.scienceweek.net.au/get-involved/organise-an-event
  • Measure and evaluate the success of your activities
    Use our event and activity evaluation tool to measure the impact and success of your science engagement events.
    inspiringaustralia.net.au/evaluation

5. Promote your activities and events

  • National Science Week
    Get involved in National Science Week, Australia’s annual celebration of science in Australia. With some 1.5 million Australians of all ages participating, this is a great place for you to promote your science.
    www.scienceweek.net.au
  • National and State support for your science activities and events
    State and territory Inspiring Australia Officers are in place to facilitate effective and efficient collaboration amongst organisations involved in science communication and engagement. The Inspiring Australia Officers have avenues to help you gain publicity and promote your science activities.

  • Share your science on Facebook with ScienceAlert
    Connect via ScienceAlert which provides credible, defensible and accurate science news and content, drawn from Australasian universities, science centres and agencies, to over 250 000 young Australians daily.
    www.facebook.com/ScienceAlert
  • Promote your scientist and gain recognition
    Nominate a scientist or science educator to be recognised on Australia’s biggest stage. The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are the nation’s most prestigious award for excellence in the sciences and science education.
    industry.gov.au/Science/InspiringAustralia/PrimeMinistersPrizesforScience