Careers in Science Communication for Researchers

Whether reporting on the impact of climate change, enthusing the next generation of scientists in science centres, de-mystifying complex scientific concepts to inform policy makers, or bringing cutting edge research to the wider public, effective communication of scientific ideas is vital and offers a diverse range of career opportunities.

In this session we will hear an overview of career opportunities in the sector, and hear insights from PhD-qualified scientists bringing scientific expertise to the wider public in communication-focused roles.

We will share tips on building relevant experience alongside academic research and strategies for securing a first role in science communication.

Dr Lorna Daniels, Senior Policy Advisor, R&D Strategy & Capability – Government Office for Science. As a Senior Policy Advisor at Government Office for Science, my role is to provide strategic advice on the development of commercial science capabilities across government departments. I completed a BSc in Sports Science at Liverpool John Moores University and an MSc in Human Physiology at Kings College London. I then completed a PhD in Cardiac Physiology at University of Otago in New Zealand. Prior to joining GO-Science, I also held a two-year postdoc role at the University of Auckland, followed by a Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford. During my time in Oxford, I engaged in various innovation and entrepreneurial programs on offer including ‘Rising Wise’ and ‘Ideas to Impact’. I was also part of the Medical Sciences Industry Fellows Postdoc Network that led to myself and a colleague starting a podcast called ‘Research Co-Culture’

Dr Sammy Mason, Science Communication and Research Impact Officer, University of Edinburgh As the Science Communicator and Research Impact Officer at the University of Edinburgh, my role is to lead on the communication and impact strategy for the GroundsWell consortium. The GroundsWell consortium is a group of researchers, policy makers and community representatives working towards maximizing health and wellbeing benefits from urban green and blue spaces. I’m involved in a range of initiatives across the consortium including public engagement projects, translating academic outputs and writing impact case studies. In my route through academia I did an MSci in Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham before doing my PhD at Durham University. My PhD was an interdisciplinary project spanning the fields of ecology, social science and education to investigate how to improve national mammal monitoring through camera trapping and citizen science. Following my PhD, I worked for the British Ecological Society for two years as the Outreach Project Officer on a project engaging over 70 schools in ecological recording, citizen science and transforming school grounds for wildlife.

Dr Chris Jeffs, Careers Adviser, University of Oxford Careers Service: Chris secured a career transition beyond academia to lead science communication, public engagement, and career development work at the British Ecological Society, an international charity and learned society for research staff and students. His work there involved: organising public exhibitions, events, and large-scale school outreach programmes; delivering career development support for students and researchers; fundraising through leading applications for large and small grants and donations. Chris has also worked as a freelance science communicator appearing as a contributor on broadcast television, and volunteers on public engagement committees for the Royal Entomological Society.