pixel Science Communication Course | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Science Communication Course







Course Description

Scientists are increasingly evaluated also by their ability to transmit their ideas and findings. This 3-day course aims to help students develop their communication skills in different settings.

The course looks into science communication as a whole process and gives students the opportunity to train oral and written techniques to meet both peers and lay audiences.

In general, the course follows three main vectors: write, talk, and dialogue. It starts with a more traditional approach to science writing by focusing on the structure of scientific papers, both in the natural/exact sciences and in the social/human sciences. The second day is devoted to overcoming common difficulties when addressing an audience, from structuring a presentation to mastering posture and voice, though improvisation techniques. Finally, the course takes the stance that scientists must leave the ivory tower and dialogue with the outside world, both through the media and by engaging directly with the public, namely by making use of web2.0.


PhD students at Universidade NOVA de Lisboa


New editions will be announced soon.


Course Coordinator
Ana Sanchez, Head of the Communication and Science Outreach Office, ITQB
Ana Sanchez, Head of the Communication and Science Outreach Office, ITQB
António Granado, journalist and assistant professor FCSH
Sérgio Rosendo, Senior Researcher, FCSH
Vasco Trigo, journalist
Joana Lobo Antunes, Post-doctoral researcher in Science Communication
Romeu Costa, actor


For the Science Communication course please bring:

1. A printout of an abstract about your research work (or your project) written by yourself (max 300 words) 
2. A printout of a typical research paper published in your area (not a review paper) – choose one you consider good
3. A 3-minute oral presentation about your work (without visual support) for a non-specialist audience
4. Please bring your laptop for Day 3

Communication exercises throughout the module are not subject to evaluation to guarantee that students express their real difficulties and look for solutions. At the end of the module students are invited to put in practice what they have learned by writing a blog post about their research project targeting educated lay audiences.

Commitment to the proposed exercises - 80%
Blog post writing  - 20 %


Study Load (activities/number of hours)

1 ECTS (3 days)

Lectures - 8 hrs
Practical activities - 16 hrs
Reading/self-study - 4hrs

Learning Outcomes
At the end of the module, students should be familiar with the challenges of science communication at different levels:
Reading a scientific paper
Writing different sections of a scientific paper
Organizing thoughts
Addressing an audience – posture, voice, content
Simplifying the message
Interacting with the media

Recommended reading

Olson, Randy (2009). "Don´t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style". London: Island Press. 
Schimel, Joshua (2011). "Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded". Oxford University Press