Getting ready for a new type of congress

As I have mentioned several times now, I want to make the transition from academia and work on scientific communication. I’ve been building a network, talking to people from the institute and of course, looking around for courses and opportunities to work on my writing. In part, starting this blog was intended to help me work on my vulgarization skills.

But next weekend I am taking one step further: I am going to a congress organized by the Scientific Communicators of Québec (ACS in French). I am very excited but also nervous. I am used to scientific congress, particularly those related to my field (Immunology). This time, from what I see in the program, most of the background of the attendees is journalism or communication itself, with some of them having specializations in science.

What I expect from this congress is very different from others I’ve gone to. In the latter, I hoped for people to see my research and either propose and give new ideas to advance my project, or to critique (hopefully in a constructive manner) my results, so I can make it better. This time, all my expectations are based on learning. Learning what the field has and needs, and I am lucky that this is pretty much the theme this year.

As someone who has been working in academia for the past 11 years, it will be interesting to see the type of discussions that experts in scientific communication have. How do they intend to deliver the scientific message to so many different levels of public, from the daily newspaper to specialized magazines without jumping in the academic format.

What am I doing to prepare myself? I actually have an interview with one of the panelist that happens to work for the institute and she kindly accepted to see me and answer any questions I have on the field. Even better, this meeting will be just a few days before the congress so I can be more than ready.

I am doing all of this, while at the same time working on a poster for one of my more “typical” congress. I’ve talked before on how to prepare for this type of presentations, mostly for talks, but I have also mentioned to not dismiss poster presentations. Next week, I expect to give you a comparison of the two congress, while also sharing whatever I learn in the ACS on.

In the meantime, be careful with what you believe, do your research and keep doing good science.

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