Effective science communication in contemporary research environment

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Presented by Karembu M., Nguthi F., Wafula D., Odhong’ J.A., Ecuru J., Ozor N., Urama K., Acheampong E., Opati L., Komen J., Virgin I., Gasingirwa M., Selassie T., Abebe A., Omari J., Chuwa P. and Nyange N. at the First Bio-Innovate Regional Scientific Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25-27 February 2013

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Effective science communication in contemporary research environment

  1. 1. Effective Science Communication inContemporary Research EnvironmentKarembu M*, Nguthi F, Wafula D, Odhong’ J.A, Ecuru J, Ozor N,Urama K, Acheampong E, Opati L, Komen J, Virgin I, Gasingirwa M, Selassie T, Abebe A, Omari J, Chuwa P and Nyange N. First Bio-Innovate Regional Scientific Conference Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25-27 February 2013
  2. 2. Outline1. Why Communicate?2. The “what” of science communications3. Preparing for effective Science communications4. Some experiences and lessons learnt in science communications in Africa
  3. 3. Reading from the same script…but reading different messagesCommunication training rationale.. 3
  4. 4. Why Science Communication? It is the key to acceptance and adoption of technological and scientific innovations It helps scientists to give their work meaning in the eyes of their stakeholders – policy makers, taxpayers, industry, consumers etc Science Communication is about putting science into use by helping the public to understand research results and make informed science-based decisions. It is NOT about selling the products of science
  5. 5. The “what” of Science Communications
  6. 6. Science CommunicationNote: In Science communication - Avoid: A+B+C = D Start with solution: D = A+B+C
  7. 7. Challenges of Science Communication• Lack of communication skills among researchers• The inability to simplify technical research findings• Scientists’ attitudes and mindsets – most still operate from the “ivory tower”• Lack of identification of appropriate platforms from which to communicate• Lack of knowledge on how to target appropriate audiences with tailored messages
  8. 8. Non-Verbal Communication.. Ke Pre nya sid n e nt
  9. 9. Non-verbal communication shapes perceptions
  10. 10. ISAAAPreparing for effectiveScience communication
  11. 11. Key components in effective science communications• Trusted and Credible communicators• Content - Credible information sources• Communication Tools – Multi-media - Messenger - Message - Means
  12. 12. Understand your stakeholders Stakeholder analysis and net-mapping ISAAAHigh HP/LI HP/HI Keep satisfied – make Fully engage and bring on them PATRONS board as CHAMPIONSPower/Influence LP/LI HI/LP Monitor - Minimum Keep informed, organize to effort influenceLow Interest High
  13. 13. Develop a Communication Strategy WHO? WHAT Select the best ? timing for yourPolicy maker, target audiencejournalist, seed WHY? The keytrader, farmer messages youetc WHEN? want to Your communicate communication goalWhich is thebestcommunication Consider optionsproduct to pass WHERE? for best place to HOW? deliver message i.e.the messagee.g. brochure, workshop, publicpolicy brief, hearings or duringissue brief, field visit?mass media etc
  14. 14. Messagetargeting
  15. 15. Your message determines your results (importance of message mapping)• A message map is a visual aid for packaging and presenting information in a compelling format that facilitates quick understanding.• It ensures:- – Consistency in messaging by project – Allows projects to anticipate,prepare and organize answers to questions by stakeholders• A message map conveys 3 key messages from the project supported by 3 factsNote: Always remember the power of numbers!
  16. 16. Message Map Area of Concern Loss of trading partner e.g. EU GMOs Key Message 1 Key Message 2 Key Message 3 SF1 SF1 SF1 SF2 SF2 SF2 SF3 SF3 SF3 Message map is a tool for presenting facts and figures on acontroversial subject in a format that facilitates comprehension
  17. 17. BIPCEA Project Message Map
  18. 18. Simplify language – keep it briefTechnical jargon Layman’s languageRecombinant DNA Plant improvementtechnologyGene Hereditary informationGene gun, biolistics Delivery systemVirusVirus resistant Cassava
  19. 19. Keep Communication Clear Less impact on beneficial insects Protecting biodiversityEnvironmental through Benefits intensive agriculture Reduces pesticide use by …%
  20. 20. Build Capacity in Science Communication Scientists Regulators Policy makers Journalists - Radio *Local administration
  21. 21. Where do majority policymakers get information on bio-innovations?Ranked in importance (in East Africa)1. Mass media – electronic & print (radio highly effective)2. Special interest groups – NGOs, industry3. Special media – brochures, newsletters4. Experts?5. Websites?6. Social media – blogs, faceboook, twitter etc.. Yet experts from public institutions most trusted and Internet and social media rated highly in shaping perceptions!
  22. 22. Effective Mass Media Relations• Requires a good understanding of the various mass media and how they operate Issues to note include:
  23. 23. Communicating R&D along product development and utilisation pathwaysFor each phase:Different stakeholders Farmer release, postDifferent messages & market surveillancemessengersDifferent means of Extensive riskcommunication assessment Field testing Greenhouse Phased approach Laboratory Source: ISAAA collections, PBS docs
  24. 24. Some CommunicationExperiences and Lessons Learnt
  25. 25. 1. Media-Scientists Linkages •Training in: Science communication Media relations and Issue managementLesson 1: Build capacity and invest in good relations withcredible journalists for increased and balanced reporting
  26. 26. 2. Scientific live showsLesson 2: Demystify your research by exposingstakeholders to scientific processes & products
  27. 27. 3. Study tours - traveling wkshops Members of Parliament, Journalists, Farmer leaders, Stakeholders visit Bt cotton regulatorsConfined Field Trials in Kenya visit biotech facilities in the country and countries with commercial Farmer-to-farmer crops visits to S. Africa, Burkina Lesson 3: Invest in seeing-is-believing study tours to enhanceappreciation of research efforts & confidence with local expertise
  28. 28. 4. Policy makers and scientists interactive sessions e.g Parliamentary committeesLesson 4: Politicians are very strong opinion shapers. For confidence, policy influence, scientists & parliamentarians must engage!
  29. 29. 5. Regular (monthly) stakeholder dialogue E.g: Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology – OFAB 2-hour session every last Thursday of the month: scientists, specialists, policy makers and the media have a platform to network and share knowledge Lesson 5. Interpersonal communication very effective in building trust and strengthening inter-institutional networking
  30. 30. 6. IEC Materials and TranslationsLesson 6: Improve stakeholders understanding of research processes and trends with simple, localized IEC materials - consistency
  31. 31. Strategic Partnerships: Science Communications Service ProviderBioAWARE; Public Universities; RECs AATF ABNE PBS Bio-Innovate Others?
  32. 32. Best Practice – planned communication Being proactive than reactive ISAAA APP modelAnticipate: List all possible issues on your research Prepare: Messengers, Message, Means (3M) Practice: Regularly engage relevant stakeholders
  33. 33. AcknowledgementThis presentation is being made on behalf of the BIPCEA project consortium comprising:National Science Councils, Commissions and Ministries of Science and Technology inthe region; • Uganda National Council for Science and Technology – Lead Partner; • National Council for Science and Technology, Kenya; • Directorate of Science, Technology and Research, Rwanda; • Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH); • Ministry of Science and Technology, Ethiopia.Regional STI policy organizations international research organizations and Universities; • Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, • African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), • International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) AfriCenter), • Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden (SEI). • University of Dar es Salaam, TanzaniaBIPCEA is supported by a three-year grant from Sida through the BioInnovate Program
  34. 34. Thank you!www.isaaa.org/kc

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