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Science communication workshop

On June 20, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute hosted a half-day Science Communication Workshop at the Society’s National Office in Toronto. The 28 cancer researchers from across the country learned, among other things:

  • how scientists tend to talk about their research versus how the public wants to hear about it 
  • strategies to make sure their message is both understood and remembered
  • tips on how to respond to questions about their research

Instructor Linda Hosler works with the Communicating Science Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which has delivered over 40 of these workshops since the program began in 2008. AAAS is perhaps best known as the publisher of Science magazine, which named cancer immunotherapy as the science breakthrough of the year in 2013.

Researchers watch their 2-minute talks at the workshop

Participants worked in small groups to develop short, plain-language messages about their work, based on Linda’s guidelines. The researchers then video recorded their 2-minute talks. In the last half-hour of the workshop, several brave volunteers screened their videos to received feedback from the group.

Society staff from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec were also there to learn how to pass on this guidance to the Society-funded researchers they work with.

Many of the participants gave us their enthusiastic feedback at the end of the day and in our formal evaluation after the event. We will follow up in 6 months to see how they’ve used what they learned. 

This was a great opportunity for the researchers, and it also helped meet one of the Society’s needs. There is an increasing appetite among our donors, staff and volunteers for clear details about the world-class cancer research we are able to fund thanks to the generosity of so many Canadians. Building our capacity to talk about cancer research also helps us build stronger relationships with everyone who shares our goal of reducing the toll that cancer takes on so many lives.

Last modified on: August 12, 2014