Making science work for development

Residential Communication and Media Skills

12 - 13 March

Our writing and media skills courses are designed for individuals at late-stage PhD/post-doc level and above, who have experience in conducting independent research.

Forthcoming course dates:

12 - 13 March 2018

18 - 19 June 2018

19 - 20 November 2018

See below for course information and fees. This course is held at the Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire.


This course is designed to equip scientists with high-level skills to engage wide audiences through the media and popular science writing. The first day focuses on writing about your research, including the fundamentals of communicating technical information accurately to busy non-specialists and developing a short article prepared before the course. The second day covers broadcast interview skills, building on the principles of the first day and including practice radio and TV interviews, with guidance on preparing for questions. Highlights of the course include individual feedback on writing and interviews from tutors who work in science writing and broadcast, the development of a popular science article about your research, and the opportunity to review your own interview performance privately afterwards through optional recordings. View the programme.

Accommodation on the evening of day 1, along with lunch, dinner and breakfast, is included onsite at the Kavli Royal Society Centre, a refurbished Grade I listed country house in Buckinghamshire.

Benefits for participants

Writing about your research:

  • Training in key principles of writing about research for non-specialist audiences
  • Specific advice on writing press releases, news articles, features, and online articles
  • Tips on how to convey concepts clearly without compromising accuracy
  • Guidance on writing for social media
  • Constructive coaching and feedback 

Media skills:

  • Inside knowledge of how science makes the news
  • Advice on best practice
  • Understanding the specific requirements for print, audio, and video media content
  • Practical experience of broadcast interviews, developing from 'soft' interviews that introduce basic techniques to 'hard' interviews that practise handling controversial issues, and from 'face-to-face' to 'remote' interview formats
  • Digital recordings of practice interviews for individual participants to review privately afterwards, with feedback from professional presenters

About the tutors

This course is designed for scientists by SciConnect and led by principal trainers Dr Claire Ainsworth and Dr Jon Copley, along with additional guest trainers with backgrounds in science writing and editing for national newspapers and popular science magazines.

Dr Claire Ainsworth is a freelance science journalist and trainer, who formerly worked as a reporter and editor at New Scientist and Nature. Dr Jon Copley is a scientist who has interacted extensively with the media about his research, and previously worked as a Reporter and Assistant News Editor at New Scientist. Jon and Claire co-founded SciConnect in 2006 and have equipped more than 12,000 scientists with the skills to engage and inspire wider audiences with their work.

Course fee and bursaries

The course fee is £900 + VAT and includes one nights' accommodation, lunch, dinner and breakfast. Payment is required in full prior to the course to confirm your place.

The Royal Society and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 provide bursaries to cover the cost of the course for scientists whom they fund.

Cancellation policy

If cancellation occurs more than 3 weeks in advance of the course date, but less than 4 weeks, a 50% refund will be given. However, if cancellation occurs with less than 3 weeks’ notice, unfortunately no refund will be possible.


For all enquiries, please email coursesatroyalsociety [dot] org (subject: Residential%20Communication%20and%20Media%20Skills%20course) .