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Science secret

Effective communication 'critical' to building trust, researcher says

Research

By Patti Lewis

Dr. Brett Favaro wants to share a secret.

He knows that if scientists can communicate their ideas effectively, they are more likely to succeed.

Dr. Brett Favaro oversees two new graduate programs in fisheries science that include a focus on communications.
Dr. Brett Favaro
Photo: Sarah Smellie - CBC

This fall, Dr. Favaro, a researcher with the Ocean Frontier Institute and an instructor at Memorial University’s Marine Institute, is going to share his secret with students enrolled in the new graduate programs in fisheries science that he oversees.

Required course

All students in the two master’s level programs — one in stock assessment and one in science and technology — and a PhD in fisheries science, are required to take his course in science communications.

“Good science communication isn’t about dumbing things down — it’s about making topics accessible,” he said. “We want science to have an impact and that will only happen if we all keep talking and listening to each other.”

That’s because when scientists communicate effectively, it promotes a broader understanding and informed decision-making by individuals, communities, industry and government.

Codfish in a net.
Codfish in a net.
Photo: Submitted

And there are practical benefits as well.

According to a blog post on Scientific American, written by Dr.  Monica Feliu-Mojer, better communications can enhance a scientist’s ability to secure funding or find a job.

It enables scientists to write more comprehensible research papers and allows them to be better teachers and mentors for next-generation scientists.

“Effective communication is critical to building that trust.” — Dr. Brett Favaro

“Fisheries can feed us, give us wealth and sustain our communities well into the future,” said Dr. Favaro. “But the only way this can work is if we start with a solid foundation of trusted science. Effective communication is critical to building that trust.”

The launch of the fisheries science programs marks the first time the Marine Institute has offered a doctoral program in its 53-year history. Programs begin this fall with first students already registered.

For more information, please visit the website.


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