In March of 2021, AIOG had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Fiona Watts who is a Director for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at Kings College London. She also happens to serve as the Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council in the UK. Dr. Watt’s research focuses on the interplay between internal and external factors in the regulation of stem cell fate.
In the Spring she spoke on the many scenarios that she uses her expertise in scientific communication to increase the accessibility of science to the public. I was particularly drawn to this talk, as I am always looking for ways to improve how I communicate my research to colleagues and friends. In the past, she has helped to communicate scientific goals and ideas through non-profit organizations such as Versus Arthritis, as well as government agencies seeking advice about the use of human embryonic stem cells. She also described her collaborations with artistic communities to present science in new and exciting ways, which I thought was a particularly innovative approach to increase the accessibility of science to all ages.
As the Director for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at Kings College London, Dr. Watts participates in several projects that aim to make basic research fun and inspiring to students of all ages. She promotes public engagement in science through social media avenues (wattlab | home) ,a seminar series called “Stem Cells at Lunch” that encourages colleagues to come together and discuss their work, and she even has a YouTube channel (Watt Lab 1) designed to help scientists improve their communication skills.
In this talk with Beyond the PhD (AIOG), Dr. Watts emphasized the importance of communicating science to the public through networking, which will provide researchers the opportunity to learn new skills and improve how they present their work to the public. She also provides excellent advice on best methods to target your audience including using language that is both collaborative and respectful of audiences without expert level knowledge of science. Overall, this talk is beneficial for anyone interested in pursuing a career in scientific communication or those seeking better ways to present their research in a broader, more relatable context.
To listen to the full interview with Dr. Watts search under the “Interviews and Recordings” section of the website for “The Importance of Scientific Communication with Fiona Watts”.