If you are working in a communication, media or research office at a university (or similar research institution) in Africa this guide is intended for you. Researchers who are interested to develop their confidence and skills in communicating their research outside the academic community and engaging public audiences will also find it useful.
Communication, media and research offices at research universities are hubs of strategic information. Staff members working in such offices have access to research leaders and insight into the future potential of research being conducted within the university. They are ideally placed to make university-based research more visible and accessible to the outside world.
For the purpose of this guide, people who work towards communicating and promoting research, and focusing attention on the importance of the research, are called “research communicators”. On the whole, research communicators act as “enablers”. It is their job to build and nurture positive relationships between research (science) and society. Although they often work behind the scenes, they can make a crucial difference in research impact and uptake.
This guide explains how research communicators can optimise the visibility and accessibility of research taking place in the organisations where they work, and how this can benefit the university, the broader society and the researchers themselves.
This guide is divided into two main sections. The first called “Research communication: Setting the scene” focuses on key concepts and a broad understanding of research (or science) communication. The next section called “Essential skills for research communicators” is devoted to practical skills that every research communicator needs.
Finally, don’t forget to consult the comprehensive list of additional resources freely available online, which is provided within each section, as well as at the end of this guide.