Journalist interview

SciDev.Net will deliver training to scientists on how to better communicate their research to the world’s science media and help inform the policy landscape

SciDev.Net is embarking on a £234,000 project to help 500 scientists from 10 institutions better communicate their research to the world’s media and have a greater influence on national and global policy and decision making.

The two-year project – funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) – will help scientists in the Global South find the story in their research, and develop the skills to communicate that story to the media and wider public.

SciDev.Net, the world’s leading online source of news about science, technology and innovation for development, will deliver two workshops to 50 scientists at each institution – which will involve them identifying the newsworthy research findings
before pitching their ideas to real journalists.

The workshops, led by SciDev.Net’s Training Coordinator Charles Wendo, Regional Coordinator Ochieng’ Ogodo and the editor of one of SciDev.Net’s regional editions, will take place at the following institutions:

• Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA)
Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Tanzania Commission for Science & Technology, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA), La Paz, Bolivia
University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
• Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in Southeast Asia (SHAPE-SEA) programme, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University , Mahidol University, Thailand and;
Arab council for Social Sciences (ACSS), Beirut, Lebanon

Dr Charles Wendo

Dr Charles Wendo

Dr Wendo said, “Despite the generation of scientific research that can contribute to solving the problems societies face and scientists having more ways available to them to disseminate their research than ever before, there remain significant barriers to the application of scientific evidence to policymaking decisions.

“According to a 2014 report, commissioned by SciDev.Net and the London School of Economics, 62 percent of respondents in our global survey highlighted the reluctance or inability of academics to talk in non-technical terms as a barrier to journalists covering their stories.

“A lack of ability to communicate research findings effectively results in poor uptake of research in policy spaces. This leads to a scenario where economic stakeholders dominate the policy landscape and scientific evidence is used post factum, to justify rather than inform policymaking decisions, our survey found.”

Paul Dawson, SciDev.Net’s Commercial Director, said that SciDev.Net’s unique approach to tackling the problem was centred around facilitating journalist and researcher relationships, and being mindful of specific needs and contexts for each region.

“The key to the success of this SciDev.Net project is to create more sources of information that presents science and technology in a form which is readily usable for public engagement and may lead to national and global policy change,” he added.

In addition to these face-to-face workshops funded by Sida, SciDev.Net’s innovative Script programme, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation, offers scientists and science journalists free online training and networking resources to help strengthen science reporting in Africa.


Additional information

About SciDev.Net

SciDev.Net is the world’s leading source of reliable and authoritative news, views and analysis about science and technology for global development.

Our Mission is to use independent journalism to help individuals and organisations apply science to decision-making in order to drive equitable, sustainable development and poverty reduction. SciDev.Net is part of CAB International (CABI) – a not-for-profit organisation that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

SciDev.Net operates editorially independently from CABI with its content overseen by an independent Editorial Advisory Committee whose role is to ensure our editorial independence protocol is adhered to. The protocol is available on request.

Sida’s mission

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world. Through our work and in cooperation with others, we contribute to implementing Sweden’s Policy for Global Development.

Relevant book

Discover the CABI-published book ‘The Science of Communicating Science, The Ultimate Guide’ by Craig Cormick in the CABI Bookshop


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