In the previous article, we talked about the required background, available courses, and skills for science communication. Here we talk about:
How to get started with science communication remains the first and most common question. There are three ways you can get into science communication.
First, you can do it in your own capacity. Setting up a blog and writing popular science articles, research stories, making podcasts, Youtube videos, or talking about science through social media posts are some of the options. Operating in a personal capacity is a good way to experiment with different approaches, practice your communication skills, network with like-minded people, and setting up a portfolio.
Although an income may not be guaranteed, and also depends on whether you want to monetize off your communication efforts or not. If yes, then you need to think like an entrepreneur. You can offer your skills to others such as scientists, researchers, or any other science-based organization/businesses that need content for connecting with their audiences. It can help you generate income.
Second, you can pitch your story ideas to the editors of science platforms such as Indiabiosciences, Xylom, Mongabay, TheWire, and others. You need to look into what type of story ideas and media they cover and which niche they operate in. These platforms have elaborate guidelines about pitching stories and what they look for.
Getting published on such platforms helps you polish your writing skills while working with an editor and brings you credibility. These platforms also pay you to write stories for them. If you are not much of a writer, you can still get in touch with the editors, asking them whether they will accept illustrations, visual stories, and other content formats.
Third, you can go for a job, taking up a science communicator, outreach manager, engagement manager, public information officer or others with scientific institutions and organizations. These are the jobs where you use your skills to communicate the research undertaken at the institute to different stakeholders and the general public. The job profiles often demand working on annual reports, handling social media, managing grant systems, handling communications with media, and other tasks per the institute’s goals and objectives.
There are a variety of career paths that you can take in science communication. Some of the designations that can help you in a job search are listed below:
You can find these opportunities in journalism, radio, print and digital media, scientific institutions, science-based business such as pharmaceutical companies, Government bodies, for example, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, or Universities and science research institutes.
As the sector is still gaining recognition and growing in India, finding the right job can require some extra efforts on your part. To find the right job, we recommend you network.
It always helps to follow the social media accounts of institutes and organizations that belong to your subject area or interest you to look for jobs and internships. The job/internship opportunities are posted on social media. You can also stay tuned on Indiabioscience Tuesday Jobs thread they post on Twitter for future science jobs. Following the hashtags such as scicomm, sciencecommunication, scicommjobs, outreach, and others can also help keep yourself updated with the latest content and opportunities.
Also, subscribing to the emailer lists that often post jobs helps. One such emailer list is Yeti, a committee of ecologists, student volunteers, and professors from ecology, evolutionary conservation, and behavioural science. They frequently send job opportunities to their subscribers.
Besides email lists, you should also join online STEM or sci-comm clubs and groups such as those on LinkedIn, as the administrators often post about job opportunities for the members. You can also create job alerts on LinkedIn for specific keywords such as science communicator, science writer, outreach manager, and others so that you don’t end up missing a suitable opportunity.
The science festivals such as India Science Fest, Bangalore Science Gallery, and others can lead you to interesting opportunities as and when they organize events. Thus, keeping an eye out for such events and reaching out to the coordinators can also get you some great work experience.
You should consistently produce content and network with people. It will help you come across relevant opportunities helping you to move ahead in science communication.