From workshops on improving inclusivity in Science Communication to Identifying good practice in curriculum development for graduate programmes in the field - there's something for everyone.... practitioner or researcher; at an early or advance stage of your career.

Workshops will all take place on onday 25 May on the University of Aberdeen's King's  College Campus.  Workshops range from half a day to a full day and are open to all conference delegates and most are open to local students and academics who are not attending the main conference.

Details of the workshops are listed below.  Please note some workshops will run in the morning, some the afternoon and some all day on 25 May 2020.  All workshops will be finished in time for delegates to attend the opening ceremoney on the evening of 25 May.

Register for a Workshop

To register for a workshop please visit the main registration site you can add your workshop selection to your basket after you have selected your registration category. 

If you have already registered to attend the conference, just log in and select the 'Optional Extras' Attendee Category - it's the last on the list.  Details of all the workshops are below.

Full Day Workshops

PCST Doctoral student and early career workshop: Preparing for the future of our discipline(s)

This workshop, aimed at PhD and early-career students and others interested in science communication research, asks questions about the field of science communication research, and seeks to involve early career researchers in reflecting on (their) science communication research to date, identifying future needs for themselves and for the sector, preparing for the future. Together, with support from more experienced researchers, we will create a reflective, empowered cohort of researchers from across PCST.

Drawing on the conference theme of Time, Technology and Transformation, informed by World Café and unconference ethos, the day will feature structured and pre-planned elements with time and space for involvement on the day from attendees. 


  • Development of skills relevant to research by early career researchers.
  • Develop personal / professional networks.
  • Increased awareness of individual place in the research landscape.
  • Identification of needs and issues for discussion at this and future PCSTs.

This workshop is funded by the PCST Network and is free to attend, although places are limited.


Morning Workshops

A Communication Tactical Plan in less than 3 hours

Science communicators are often required to develop and implement a communication strategy. One of the barriers to this implementation is having an aligned  tactical plan to support the overall strategy. Tactic selection is often presented as a long list of activities assigned to individual stakeholders, resulting in duplication of effort and unclear expectations.

This workshop technique provides science communicators a way to engage with different stakeholders and create a set of prioritised communication tactics, analyse the implementation risk for each tactic, and how to allocate tactics by both communication partner and desired communication outcome, all in less than 3 hours.

A transformative approach to public engagement - involve people, involve them early

Often public engagement can be tokenistic, avoiding issues that are too ‘difficult’ or ‘sensitive’. But, we know the public can handle it if you involve them honestly. This workshop draws on our experience with diverse groups on some of the most challenging, sensitive subjects, underpinned by our public engagement guide (funded by the UK’s National Institute of Health Research). We’ll bring attendees with us through our transformative 5 step approach using real examples of empowering engagement - helping attendees think ahead about how to capture insights that transform understanding. Our ‘public-led, expert-fed’ engagement transforms researchers’ thinking and empowers the people you involve.

Effective Science Communication: Concept, Challenges & Ways Forward

Science communication researchers and practitioners often talk about “effectiveness” vaguely, and our field has not clearly defined nor sufficiently analyzed the concept. Against this backdrop, the half day workshop for researchers and practitioners focuses on the concept of effective communication in the context of science communication. It aims for a substantial discussion of (1) different perspectives of effectiveness, (2) different approaches and methods to measure effects, and (3) how to ensure that effectiveness research contributes to science communication practice. In this workshop we will explore these themes with the participants and discuss future directions for making science communication more effective.

Identifying good practice in curriculum development for graduate programmes in science communication

In the last 20 years, many countries around the globe created graduate courses in science communication and new programmes continue to emerge. This workshop will bring together representatives from about 30 such programmes at post-graduate, Master’s and PhD level, from different parts of the globe. This workshop will focus on sharing experiences and challenges in designing and presenting graduate programme in science communication. We will also highlight the diversity of these courses (in terms of nature, content and presentation) and discuss the associated challenges. We hope to create a set of guidelines and resources that could help universities develop new programmes or improve current programmes. In addition, we will look ahead to discuss options for future graduate programmes in this field, including (possibly) joint programmes between developed and developing countries.


This workshop is sponsored by the University of Otago and the Australian National University.



Improv for Inclusive SciComm

This beginner workshop applies tools of improv to creating inclusive environments in the less-complex, lower-stakes world of imaginative play. We’ll focus on three themes:

  • facilitating difficult conversations
  • creating cultures of “yes and”, and
  • embracing variation and diversity in thought

We’ll play improv games that require deep listening and empathy. We’ll practice leading with presence and engaging with curiosity rather than falling into habits of summarizing or offering solutions--all skills for facilitating difficult conversations across difference. 

Nichole Bennett

The University of Texas at Austin, USA. STEMprov: Improv for Science Communication, USA

Professional Hunches and Empirical Examination

Professional Hunches and Empirical Examination: A collaborative real-world study with science media professionals and science communication researchers

Join science media professionals from KQED, the public media affiliate in San Francisco, California, and science communication researchers from Texas Tech University for a hands-on discussion about effective practitioner-researcher collaborations. Presenters will review how to use real-world experiences of the hectic science journalism environment for audience research and provide step-by-step methods the team is currently using to engage new audiences with science media.  Professional communicators and researchers are invited to bring their practical science communication problems and field based research methods for discussion and design thinking brainstorms.  More about this National Science Foundation funded project is at Cracking the Code.

Rushing Across Scienceville

Challenge yourself in a game that aims to explore team-oriented, constructive ways to communicate controversial topics such as vaccines, artificial intelligence, and climate change. Guided by the QUEST project team, you will share your views and experiences and help other communicators reach their objectives. The game - in which participants race across ‘ScienceVille’ - will involve mutual support to increase the effectiveness of science communication.  Participants will receive a short commentary of findings after the game, and will have access to early recommendations resulting from the exercise.

 The Workshop will be led by Jacopo Pasotti and Ilda Mannino, VIU


Afternoon Workshops

Transforming public engagement sector for more equitable community partnerships

The importance of working with, and not for, communities in public engagement is increasingly acknowledged, especially with under-represented groups. However, whilst there can be individual models of good practice, what needs to change on a fundamentally structural and strategic level to make these partnerships between grassroots communities and community organisations along with public engagement practitioners (PEPS), researchers and academic institutions? Can funding practices truly allow for iterative projects which are led by, valued and evaluated as successful by community partners? Does funding allow enough time to develop relationships with communities, and incorporate the risk required to truly hand over decision making over power? And can academia more broadly support this within the current system? What needs to change to go beyond narrow definitions of "impact" and often little of recognition of quality public engagement?

Join this workshop to help envision and propose what needs to change structurally both within and outwith the public engagement sector to truly support equitable working with diverse community groups and organisations, PEPS and researchers. We anticipate to involve individuals from funders, academia (PEPs and researchers) and communities to share their voices, and through structured discussions, provocations and evidence gathering, we will begin to co-write a proposal paper (with everyone as co-authors) with a suggestions for a roadmap for different stakeholders (funders, senior academic management, researchers) of what a transformed, more equitable, fair and sustainable public engagement landscape and sector would look like. 

The workshop will be led by Lewis Hou from Science Ceilidh, an intermediary public-community organisation, who is an experienced community engagement practitioner working with diverse communities as well as working more strategically consulting on national programmes and advisory panels for funders on widening participation, and Erica Mason, an STS scholar at the University of Edinburgh interested in power dynamics roles in public engagement.


Lewis Hou1Erica Mason2

1Science Ceilidh, United Kingdom. 2University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Communicating scientific concepts through time and space

Communicating scientific concepts through time and space 

When we communicate about science, we often communicate about concepts that change constantly over time, both in the literal sense and in our understanding. In this workshop we will take an interactive approach to look at scientific stories as continuously evolving entities - just like the scientific process itself. We will explore how to present material that does not have a distinct beginning, middle or end and consider the dynamic relationship between the storyteller and the audience. 

Gina Maffeyand Iris Nijman2

1. JIVE (Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC) an astrophysics institute in the Netherlands

2. National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), USA

Starting your career in healthcare communications

Starting your career in healthcare communications: an interactive workshop based on a ‘real-world’ pharmaceutical client scenario

This interactive workshop provides valuable insight into the healthcare communications industry through a mock client challenge.

Participants will be presented with a fictional medical scenario and asked to brainstorm ideas for educational resources that communicate effectively to both healthcare professionals and patients.

This workshop reflects the type of situation we regularly encounter in healthcare communications and is aimed at life sciences students who are interested in pursuing a career within the sector.


DNA for Dummies: Catching the Little Rascal

This hands-on workshop provides each participant a joy to see their own DNA. No matter how old you are or how much do you know about genetics – it always makes people happy to see the results with their own eyes. If you imagine that the human cell is 5000 times smaller than a grain of sand, it is always just WOW! The workshop simply clarifies the  methods used in a typical DNA laboratory with an aim to rise knowledge about the basics of  genetics and describes how scientists will use the information from the DNA in their everyday work.


Learning Ecology Everywhere: from Schoolyards to city trails, inquiry cycle at its best!

Get hooked by School Yard Ecology as we did 20 years ago in the temperate rain forests of South America! A straightforward, easy-to-understand introduction to the universe of natural history and a hands-on methodology that promises fun, interaction among participants, collaboration, imagination and fun, to learn about ecology everywhere and anywhere and to communicate its beauty and importance. Because we believe in “no laugh, no gain” instead of “no pain, no gain”, we promise discoveries and a new way to look and practice the scientific method.

Building capacities and Incentives for Science Communication

Policy measures and incentives are important instruments to create framework conditions able to support and promote the importance of science communication. This is true for what concerns specialist skills or activities within the scientific community, or to support quality science communication to citizens in the publishing and journalist world. Favourable policy actions can also express potentials in paving the way for new professional and work opportunities in the sector of science communication.


These are some of the questions that we would like to explore through a participative discussion, involving relevant stakeholders to gather and make the most out of the collective knowledge. The workshop, of half a day, through appropriate methodologies, will create a way and a path to reflect together on whether and how some of the issues affecting science communication can/shall be addressed through policy measures. This is the main topic that we would like to explore through a participative discussion, involving relevant stakeholders to gather and make the most out of the collective knowledge. The workshop, of half a day, through appropriate methodologies, will create a way and a path to reflect together on whether and how policy measures and incentives affecting science communication can/shall be addressed through policy measures