To show the impact of our research, science communication is crucial. Leiden University therefore appreciates it when researchers explain their work to a wide audience, for instance at public events, in lectures and in the media. And fortunately many researchers are happy to share their insights, knowledge and expertise with the general public.
If you as a researcher want to bring your research results to the attention of the media, you can contact the science communication adviser for the University or your faculty. If a journalist calls you to comment on a current development or for an interview, see our media guide for researchers for help.
Young Academy Leiden (YAL) has made a selection of websites, articles and blogs that contain valuable information for anyone who would like to be active in science commmunication and engage with the general public. ‘At YAL we feel it is our task – academic community that we are – to be as active as possible in science communication and also to seek contact with the public.’
Besides specific practical how-to’s, this page also includes links to general reflections on why engagement with the public is important (and rewarding), and what sort of outcomes you may expect when you engage in public outreach.
Webpages by subject
If you are not sure why it is worth engaging in outreach and science communication, or are interested in engaging with the general public but are not sure what to expect, you may wish to consider some of the following articles.
For many early career academics, writing an accessible, non-academic text on the results and relevance of their research can be challenging, as the bulk of an academic’s written output is targeted at fellow academics (within a specific area of expertise) or students in a specific programme. The following web pages list a number of valuable tips and tricks for structuring and phrasing opinion columns, pop articles, and press releases.
- The Op-Ed Project guide to writing opinion columns, including information on how to pitch to dozens of individual outlets
- Guide to writing op-eds
- Ten tips for effective science communication
- How to write a press release
- How to pitch articles to editors
- Advice for writing pop articles
- What is a good science story?
- How to avoid common mistakes in science writing
- Difference between pop articles and teaching
As with writing, preparing accessible talks about your research for the general public requires a different strategy than preparing for academic presentations. Note that many of the tips for giving public talks listed below may also be relevant if you are considering to start a vlog or podcast.
- Communicating research to a general audience
- Ten tips for improving public speaking
- Public speaking for academics
Public talks at Leiden University
Leiden University hosts activities for a broad audience, including public talks, via Studium Generale.
An increasingly important component of engaging in public outreach is having a social media presence. Many academics take to Twitter and LinkedIn, but to engage with a younger audience, it may be worth considering other social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The resources below give an overview of possible social media platforms for academics, and include tips for best practice.
In addition to creating and maintaining a social media presence, writing blog posts or recording a podcast or vlog about your field of expertise (either for your personal blog/vlog/podcast, or a contribution to an external or shared blog/vlog/podcast) may help you reach a large, varied audience.
Radio or television interviews are an important and exciting channel for science communication. Moreover, interviews with broadcast media can be a crucial stepping stone for early career academics to further broadcast media interviews. Still, making a broadcast media appearance can be daunting, and requires careful preparation. The following web pages describe how you can prepare for a broadcast media interview.
There are a range of organizations and events in the Netherlands that specifically focus on Science Communication and public outreach.