[Resource / course] UCL’s Science in the mass media, taught by @alicebell #scicomm

Alice has featured on these pages before and this is her helpful advice for people who are thinking about working in science communication. 

She’s just started teaching at UCL one day a week, on their course in Science in the mass media.

She posted the following blog post outlining the course which included a link to the syllabus (attached) and added in a range of example essay questions that students might find themselves answering.

Science in the mass media (Through the Looking Glass blog)

One of the questions intrigued me in particular because it references the science communication activities of medical charities which, as anyone reading this blog might have worked out, is a bit of an enthusiasm of mine. This is why the large list of vacancies pages of organisations (largely in London) which might employ science communicators features medical research charities somewhat prominently.

5. To what extent can an NGO do effective science communication? Is the case different for environmental campaigning groups compared to medical charities?

I’ve created a LinkedIn group specifically for people who work in medical charities (this includes medical research charities and patient groups) or for anyone who might be thinking about working in that field. The group’s open to anyone so we have people who are scientists working on projects funded by medical research charities and other people who are just interested – it’s free, you just need to sign up to LinkedIn.

The group is currently discussing a session some of us will be running at the annual science communication conference on the impact of research.

Here’s what I wrote in the Group’s “rules” bit, basically setting out my stall of what the group is about.


Medical research charities and patient groups employ several different types of science communicators (although they might not necessarily use that term in the job title). 

Depending on the size and needs of the charity, science communicators will do any or all of the following (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten stuff!): 
??? write and edit content for websites and magazines (for members of the public as well as professional audiences) 
??? work in press teams 
??? manage research portfolios and give talks about the work that is funded 
??? provide a science enquiry service to people affected by a condition or to healthcare professionals 
??? develop policies on animal or stem cell research (or other controversial issues) 
??? respond to external consultations 
??? fact-check statistics and provide evidence-based information to colleagues and critically appraise literature etc. 

Send jobs info to @JoBrodie not @scicommjobs (cos I don’t log in as that one very often), ta.
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