One of the popular career choices for scientists that look for jobs outside of academia is science communication. In this film, three science communicators look back at what inspired them to try this job.
As this is the case, we also want to know what attracted you to science communication. Please share why you decided to start doing science communication in the comments section below. We’ll be creating another blog post to highlight all the reasons in 2015.
The career paths in science communication panel at the 2014 London Naturejobs Career Expo was chaired by the Naturejobs editor, Julie Gould, and consisted of Greg Foot (Freelance), Jonathan Sanderson (StoryCog), Steven Palmer (Cancer Research UK) and Celeste Biever (Chief editor for online Nature news & comment).
Celeste Biever started working in science communication because she enjoys the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen from one day to the next. She enjoys trying to “understand and pull out essence of complex ideas very quickly.” Rapid turn-around times are also an attraction: “Everything is done within a day or two or in a week. Anything long term is one month.”
Greg Foot always enjoyed the wonder and curiosity of science as well as the way of looking at world and answering questions. “If you’re working in a lab you focus on one thing. If you’re a science communicator, especially if you’re freelance, there is an opportunity to work on many projects at once; some fast and some slow.” However, when Greg was starting out in science communication, it was still an extremely small and under-developed field. Had science communication been as big then as it is now, he “would potentially think about doing the science and science communication at the same time… there is a lot more opportunity to do that now. I don’t think it’s a case of “Leave the lab; Do science communication.”
Jonathan Sanderson believes that the expectation that you have a plan of what you’re going to do with your life is utter rubbish when it comes to science communication: “It’s a nice story that people tell themselves.” Like Celeste, Jonathan knew that timelines were important to him. “The sense of having one career for my working life was something that 17/18 year old me recognised that it wasn’t going to make me as happy.”
Other Q&A videos from the Naturejobs Career Expo, London 2014: