pixel Science Communication Course | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Science Communication Course







Course Description

In an increasingly complex world, communicating science to non-specialists is essential. Scientists from all areas are challenged to simplify their message and interact with a wide range of audiences, but it's not always easy to ensure an effective transmission of a scientific message  without sacrificing accuracy. This is precisely the goal of the Science Communication Course. Like other transversal skills, communication skills requires practice: the course aims to provide tools for an educated practice, which results in better communication with lay audiences. Paradoxically, practicing science communication to non-specialists helps also to improve communication to peers: we learn how important it is to clearly define the message and how to put ourselves in the audience's shoes, two basic rules of any communication.

In two days, we will work on how to communicate a research project in three distinct situations: speaking before an audience, dealing with an interview and writing a news article. The starting point is a typical scientific abstract of the results obtained so far on the thesis project.

Day 1


Speaking before an audience: what improvisation theatre can teach us

Transmitting a message: how to ensure what you say is what they hear

Day 2

Interview: from interaction to sound byte

News writing: attract and convey relevant information


Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module, students should be familiar with the challenges of science communication at different levels:
Organizing thoughts
Simplifying the message
Addressing an audience
Posture and voice in an oral presentation
Writing style
Interacting with the media



PhD students at Universidade NOVA de Lisboa


There are no currently scheduled editions of this course.



Course Coordinator
Ana Sanchez, Assistant Professor ITQB
António Granado, Assistant Professor FCSH
Vasco Trigo, Journalist
Joana Lobo Antunes, Director for Communication IST
Romeu Costa, Actor


Prior preparation

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. Please bring your laptop for Day 2


Communication exercises throughout the module are not subject to evaluation to guarantee that students express their real difficulties and look for solutions. As the element of the formal evaluation will be considered participation in the proposed exercises and a successful conclusion of an oral presentation, a news article and an interview.


Study Load (activities/number of hours)

1 ECTS (2 days)

Lectures - 2 hrs
Practical activities - 14 hrs
Reading/self-study - 12hrs


Recommended reading

Olson, Randy (2009). "Don´t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style". London: Island Press.