Plant cell biologist Anne Osterrieder from Oxford Brookes University in the UK says that when it comes to successfully engaging the public and communicating their ideas, researchers have to get creative. Writing in the Guardian, Osterrieder says that despite the fact that most people agree that it's important to engage children in science and communicate effectively with the public, "motivation and active involvement varies hugely and too often it is down to a few passionate individuals to drive engagement projects forward." While official outreach activities at universities tend to focus on school talks and workshops, there are a variety of other ways researchers can reach out, she adds — writing in school magazines, keeping blogs, and even producing fun science videos in collaboration with musicians and artists are all good places to start. Participating in social media is another good way to reach the public. Osterrieder says she now has "confidence and determination in using a variety of engagement channels to take science to a wider audience. I hope that others feel similarly encouraged in using innovative outreach techniques to help inspire the next generation of scientists."
Feb 22, 2012