MAS in Integrated Crop Management, Class of 2020. Jordan Sichona from Zambia.

SciDev.Net are to help members of the Science Granting Council Initiative (SGCI) in sub-Saharan Africa better communicate their research to the media, policymakers and wider public.

SciDev.Net – whose Script training programme already provides free training and networking resources for journalists, scientists to communicate science in an engaging and accurate way – will deliver training to 18 Science Granting Councils in 17 countries.

Each Science Granting Council will have a training package tailored to their capabilities and unique needs.

The ultimate aim will be to enhance their ability to increase the visibility of their work and position them as the authority on the link between science and development in their respective country.

The SGCI is a multilateral initiative that was established in 2015 to strengthen the institutional capacities of public science funding agencies in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is in order to support research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to economic and social development.

Science Granting Councils will select scientists, communication specialists, researchers and research administrators to engage in the online training – based upon five topics – which will be boosted by a series of online webinars.

Participants will learn how a range of skills and knowledge including how to simplify scientific information without compromising its meaning and how to make research findings interesting to the media, policymakers and the public.

Specific skills to be learnt will also include how to write and distribute a science press release and how researchers can build their profiles and communicate findings on social media.

A Script scoping study for a Science Media Centre for East Africa conducted in 2020 also identified skills shortage as the main impediment to good science communication in the region.

Dr Charles Wendo, SciDev.Net training coordinator, said, “One of the biggest challenges in sub-Saharan Africa is meeting a skills and knowledge shortage when it comes to effectively communicating scientific research to a broad range of audiences.

“We hope that by working closely with members of the SGCI on how to effectively communicate their research, a greater impact will be made where their science will help improve the quality of life for millions of residents living in this great continent.”

Earlier this year in April, Script delivered science communication training to talented African early career researchers recognised by The Royal Society for having the potential to become leaders in their field.

Since its inception in 2018 at the Next Einstein Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, Script has provided training to nearly 9,000 people either directly in person or online.

Featured courses, produced by Dr Wendo, include ‘Science communication skills for journalists,’ ‘Science communication skills for press officers’ and ‘Media skills for scientists.’


Additional information

Main image: A scientist at CABI’s laboratories in Delémont, Switzerland (Credit: CABI).

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