SciCom: successful communication, improved science

STAFF REPORT ISB: “Science communication is proportional to socio-economic development and is an exponential variable to delineate brainteasers of nature”, said by Prof Dr Habib Ahmad (TI), Vice Chancellor Hazara University while addressing the SciCom (Science Communication) workshop jointly organized by Centre for Human Genetics Hazara University Mansehra and Weekly Technology Times supported by Pakistan Science Foundation.

The worthy Vice Chancellor inaugurated the session and said that when scientists communicate more successfully, science flourishes. Science is progressively interdisciplinary and has the capacity to communicate effectively cross disciplines that foster collaborations and innovation.

The speakers of the workshop mentioned that science communication helps students as well as common people to understand causes of various tribulations of society pertaining to health, water, energy and food security etc. and make counter strategy to overcome those problems thus resulting in sustainable socio-economic, cultural, and environmental development of the country.

Addressing the audience Prof Dr Syed Javaid Khursheed, President Pakistan Nuclear Society highlighted the role of Pakistan Nuclear Society in dissemination of scientific knowledge. He stressed to understand the knowledge relationship between nuclear power generation and climate change. He told that nuclear energy is a vibrant element of clean energy; and reduces over two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emission each year. He further added that nuclear is perceived as a vital mitigation technology and several countries are utilizing nuclear power generation to meet their emission reduction and energy supply needs that ultimately provide green environment.

Sayyed Paras Ali, Editor Weekly Technology Times made presentation on “Science Communication in the World: Practices, Theories and Trends”. He revealed the reasons why so few science stories present scientific evidence; that is due to the journalistic assumption – audiences will fail to understand the science bit”. He further added that the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality. The field typically involves interactions between scientists, journalists, and the public.

The one-day workshop exclusively addressed the needs of scientific writing and science communication. It was endeavor to impart required skill and expertise so that the science could be presented in various media in an informative as well as entertaining manner and is able to attract and hold the attention of a common man.

Describing the topic of “Why be a science communicator” Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqi, Manager Media and PR, National Centre for Physics, QAU said, “Tremendous science communication can catch the creativity: igniting expressive deliberation and dialogue allows science a sound occurrence in the society. That eventually led to progress scientists, research, funding and ideally improved science articles in the media”.

Amy Sellmyer, Creative Communications/Multimedia Specialist, ICIMOD, Nepal shared the experience about “Societal challenges to science communication in Nepal”. Replying a query, she briefed on the role of ICIMOD and said that globalization and climate change have an increasing influence on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people. ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities, while addressing upstream-downstream issues.

The workshop was premised on the appreciation that for researchers to effectively communicate science stories to the public they have to understand the way science is done, understand the limits of the scientific method and understand how to hold scientists to account.

Prof Dr Mukhtar Alam, Dean Faculty of Science, University of Swabi presented on “How to make research useful”. He said that most of the student and young researchers dont completely comprehend what a research proposal implies, nor do they comprehend its significance. He trained the students and young faculty about how they can write a research proposal and can publish their results in peer review journals.

Majid ul Ghafar, Faculty Member, Department of Communication and Media Studies, Hazara University expressed on the topic of “Opportunities for public communication of science”. He featured the opportunity of Campus Radio FM 98.6 of Hazara University and offered science faculty students to collaborate with other faculty students for production of public understanding of science radio programs.

Prof Dr Hakim Khan, Registrar, Hazara University concluded the event and suggested “Everyone should find their niche form of communication. Some are better at presenting than others while some are better at writing: try them all; see which one fits you and your research best”.

The workshop was organized and facilitated by Dr Muhammad Ilyas, Director Centre for Human Genetics, Hazara University and Sidra Saif, Manager Coordination, Technology Times with support from Pakistan Science Foundation.

All participants of the workshop found it extremely useful and proposed to organize such training workshops in future as well. They learned it motivational to share their research outcomes with local print and electronic media for common understanding of science that can benefit the society.

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