UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.

Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.

Staff books include:

Cain 2010 Evolution The First Four Billion Years spacerAthena Swan Bronze Award


Research Communication Workshops

For many years, STS has offered this extremely popular series of workshops designed for graduate students in the sciences prepare themselves for careers involving communications with all sorts of non-scientist groups. The series is taught by Professor Steve Miller, whose career has involved major positions in both astronomy and science communication (more). 

Each workshop focuses on one particular type of communication. Emphasis is placed on practical skill development, with 1-to-1 time with the tutor. 


Communicating Risk and Controversy

(UCL Graduate School)

Much of the public’s interest in research has to do with risk, and accompanying ethical issues: does this new set of findings mean that we will develop technologies that pose or address risks to our health, to our environment, or to our way of life? Should researchers be allowed to investigate anything and everything, no matter what the consequences might be?

The aims of this workshop are (1) to acquaint you with the roles of risk and controversy in the relationship between science and society, and (2) to give you experience in communicating in circumstances where knowledge is not yet certain.

Interviewing for the Radio

(UCL Graduate School)

What happens if a radio or tv broadcaster rings up your group and asks for someone to talk about exoplanets or reconstructive surgery, or something in which you and your colleagues have some relevant expertise? Do you panic and hide, do you say this is all too much trouble, or do you rise to the occasion and work out how best you can be helpful.

The aim of this exercise is to give experience in talking about research - about your own work and that of others - in such a way that a "lay" audience can understand. You will work in a team to produce a radio magazine programme. The team will gain experience in presenting, interviewing and being interviewed.

Poster Design and Preparation

(UCL Graduate School)

It would be unusual for any doctoral student not to attend at least one conference during their studies. And it is often a requirement of getting funding that you present something, often by way of a poster. But how will you make your poster the one to be seen, particularly if you want potential employers / post-doctoral supervisors to take notice of you?

The aim of this exercise is to give you the opportunity to design and assemble a poster about scientific research being carried out at postgraduate level at UCL. This will enable you to think about the information to be conveyed, its visual presentation and lay-out and the range of materials that could be used.

Research for Policy Makers

(UCL Graduate School)

At some point in your research career, you are likely to have to impress policy makers – even if they are “only” your peers on a grant-awarding panel, rather than professional politicians. You will have to be informative, perhaps persuasive, and you will have to be relevant to other people’s agendas.

The aim of this exercise is to give you some direct experience of presenting your work, and thinking about why research results matter - not just to the researchers and their immediate academic community, but to the wider world. Concentrating on explaining research results to policy makers, who are busy and whose decisions count, will also help you communicate well in less pressured circumstances.

Writing The News

(UCL Graduate School)

Newspaper journalists have the “art” of telling their stories succinctly and in a way that attracts as broad a readership as possible. By and large, they get round problems of technical jargon, including numbers, they simplify without losing the plot, and they give you what you need to understand the essentials of what is happening.

The aim of this exercise is to give you some direct experience of how news writing works - through writing about your own work and working to understand and present someone else's. You should find that this very succinct and formulaic technique provides a basis for clear communication in a variety of contexts.

Page last modified on 03 nov 12 17:56 by Joe Cain

UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
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