The start of this years’ winter semester in Germany for us means a marathon of Public Engagement Trainings – starting with an Online-Training with young researchers of TU Dortmund.

1-Minute-Pitch: „What is interesting/fascinating/challenging about my research?”

It was an international and interdisciplinary group, we therefore held the training in English. The researchers with backgrounds from the social sciences and humanities, from engineering technology as well as life- and natural sciences started actively into the training day with a “1-minute pitch” introducing themselves and their research topic. Some of the participants came prepared with pictures or an object they used to explain their research.

Opportunities and challenges of Public Engagement

Between the first two inputs that were about trends in science communication and how to develop a communication strategy we did a brainstorming on opportunities and challenges of Public Engagement. Amongst others the researchers saw opportunities with regard to the impact and purpose of their research or in getting new perspectives on their own research topic. At the same time, these different perspectives may also pose challenges, especially since a common language with the audience has to be found to be able to communicate one’s work. The relevance of the individual research topic for an audience outside of academia was also mentioned as a challenge. Whereas, in the following activity where we asked the participants to start developing a communication strategy all of the researchers came up with specific target groups outside the academia for whom their topic could be of relevance.

Development of a tailored communication strategy for the individual research topics

The afternoon startet rather theoretical with the topic of funding and the new role it demands of researchers in todays’ society – a highly relevant topic for young researchers! The following best-practice-examples of Public Engagement and Science Communication should inspire the participants to develop their indvidual communication strategy further. They came up with great ideas that could be put into practice right away. This intensive one-day-training ended with an open and positive feedback round.