CAREER BRIEF

Toolkit: How to work in science communication

Communicating cutting-edge research to the public or policymakers is a competitive area in which full-time roles are rare. Here is what it takes.

Focus on people, not projects

Not everyone is as enthusiastic about research as you are, so finding ways to capture people’s attention at an event or exhibition, in an article or on a TV science programme is crucial. Focus on the impact the research will have: relating how a conceptual advance might affect the future will help to engage your intended audience.

Keep it simple

In most cases use simple, short sentences. Never use scientific jargon and avoid abbreviations.

Run before you can walk

Science communication is competitive. Often practitioners start doing the job first and hope they will be paid for it later. Sometimes, science communication remains a voluntary activity. Consider the following options:

• Start a blog or newsletter

• Get involved in institutional outreach events

• Write for your university newspaper

• Join local outreach events

• Enter science writing competitions

Next steps

If you are still keen to work in science communication and have built up a portfolio and useful contacts, try one of the following steps:

• Apply for media fellowships

• Apply for internships or junior positions on the science desk at broadcasters, news websites and science magazines

Find out more

For more information, read these posts on our blog:

How to get a job in science communication

Exploring science communication

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01359-4

Nature Briefing

An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday.