On recently attending the “Standing up for Science workshop” in London, organized by “Voice of Young Science” (VoYS), I got a glimpse of the implications of my science beyond my own desk at work. I went to this workshop without too many ideas about this topic. Though I do follow science news avidly, I didn’t ever think I could be part of it just yet, if ever. Over the course of this workshop, my ideas about involvement of young scientists in dissemination of science has changed rapidly.
The speakers from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives gave us ideas from different points of view. The casual atmosphere and the easy interaction allowed people to communicate and raise questions without hesitation. I loved the inclination of VoYS towards strong scientific evidence, as usually propagation of false facts is the biggest challenge in science, especially in my field of climate science.
Another issue that really made me wary about standing up for science is the idea of speaking to a large audience. Personally, I have overcome my fear of public speaking, but I still don’t feel I would be articulate enough in front of a large audience. But this workshop provided us with different ways we can avoid pitfalls of media appearances or public debates. I was most encouraged by the experiences of young speakers, whom I could definitely relate to.
I met young scientists like me from very different specializations than mine, and it was heartening to hear that though we’re doing very different things, we all seem to be facing the same basic challenges and have the same underlying fears. This cemented how cohesive the VoYS community is. Being part of such an active community makes me feel comfortable while simultaneously drives me towards a feeling of let’s do something.
So for all those early career researchers, who, like me, may not have entertained the idea of their voices being heard, such a workshop would be your starting point. Or for even those who want an active role in public discussions about science, but don’t know how to go about it; Voice of Young Science will provide you with a launch pad to start speaking about science to the public on any platform.
Sense about Science is an independent campaigning charity that challenges the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life. We advocate openness and honesty about research findings, and work to ensure the public interest in sound science and evidence is recognised in public discussion and policymaking.
Voice of Young Science is a unique and dynamic network of early career researchers across Europe committed to playing an active role in public discussions about science. By responding to public misconceptions about science and evidence and engaging with the media, this active community of 2,000+ researchers is changing the way the public and the media view science and scientists.
For more information on future VoYS workshops, see the links above. The University of Reading and the Royal Meteorological Society are two of many partners of Sense about Science and VoYS.
Captions for photographs below imagesAudience (young scientists) listening intently
Scientists on ‘how to present your work to the media’
Journalists on ‘what the media is looking for from scientists’
Getting to know each other