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A new program for UD faculty, graduate students and postdocs will provide fresh insight on the importance of effective communication and practical tips and techniques for sharing their research with broader audiences.
A new program for UD faculty, graduate students and postdocs will provide fresh insight on the importance of effective communication and practical tips and techniques for sharing their research with broader audiences.

Communications training program for UD researchers

Photo illustration by David Barczak

Kickoff set for Friday, April 5

University of Delaware researchers — including faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students — are invited to participate in an exciting new program designed to strengthen their ability to explain their work to broader audiences, fostering greater understanding and appreciation of UD research and its impact on our lives. 

In a UD survey last year, many researchers expressed keen interest in learning new approaches to communication and exploring tools and methods that can upgrade their efforts. Others want to know how to talk with journalists effectively or to improve their skills in response to expanding federal funding requirements for public engagement and broader impacts. Others said they also want to know how to explain their work to family and friends.

The free program is a collaboration of the Research Office and the Office of Communications and Marketing, in partnership with the Provost’s Office, Graduate College, Department of Communication, Center for Science, Ethics and Public Policy, and IT – Academic Technology Services.

“At a time when public trust in science has been declining, now more than ever, researchers need to be able to connect effectively with a broad range of audiences,” said Kelvin Lee, UD’s interim vice president for research, scholarship and innovation. “This program is a great opportunity for our faculty, postdocs and graduate students — in any discipline — to improve their public communications skills, as well as gain new insights and techniques that will serve them well on their future career paths.”

The program kicks off with a half-day, in-person event on Friday, April 5, at the Audion at STAR Campus. Registration is behind a CAS log-in at this weblink. Please register no later than March 27.

The remainder of the training will be delivered online in Canvas, the University’s learning management system, in a self-paced format.

“The power of research to impact and change the world is only as strong as the capacity to share, inform, inspire and invite broader audiences to understand and support its mission,” said Glenn Carter, vice president of UD’s Office of Communications and Marketing. “Communication skills are critical to that endeavor, and this program will fortify UD’s research community with tools and insights to make the relevant goals and outcomes of research more engaging and accessible.”

Two programs that promote communication at the national scale will be part of the April 5th kickoff, including the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University and The Conversation, an open-access news platform for scholarly work, which now includes the University of Delaware as a member.

Participation in the April 5 event will count toward the program’s certificate of completion. Other requirements include several course modules selected from the following topics and a public presentation of the participant’s research as a capstone experience: 

  • Communicating Your Research: Make the World Your Audience

  • Insights from Research on Communicating Research

  • Preparing for a Media Interview

  • Social Media for Researchers

  • How Visuals Can Help You Tell Your Story

  • Ethical Communication

  • Writing for The Conversation

  • How to Speak So People Want to Listen

Participants will gain fresh insight on the importance of effective science communication, practical ways to share their research, including multimedia and social media, along with a clear understanding of the communications support UD provides.

Angelia Seyfferth, associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said it’s important for researchers to be able to explain their work with all kinds of audiences. She is excited about the impact this type of training can have, especially on researchers who are just beginning their careers.

"As Ph.D. level researchers, we are used to narrowing our focus on research topics, becoming familiar with jargon and techniques that may be difficult for most of the general public to understand,” Seyfferth said. “If we keep communicating our work only to other researchers, public understanding and support for our research could be compromised. I highly encourage everyone to attend this unique opportunity to build and integrate their communication skills with their research expertise, particularly early-career scientists for whom such professional development will prove invaluable.”

For questions about the program, contact Tracey Bryant, senior director for research communications in UD’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

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