HQP working on products for an industry audience (photo: Jennifer Herne).

In March 2015, the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN) held a workshop to address the need for training on the theme of scientific communication and understanding the needs of diverse audiences. Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), this innovative three-day workshop held in Montreal brought together a unique group of 38 students, postdoctoral fellows and early career professionals (“HQP” or highly qualified personnel), and other invited guests from academia, government and the fishing industry.

The impetus for this workshop came about at a previous CFRN training workshop held in February 2014, the Predator Pit Challenge, which was offered in conjunction with the Network’s 4th Annual General Meeting. During that workshop, HQP identified communications training as a high-priority need.

The communications training workshop was designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • To train participants in the basic principles of science communication and develop an understanding of the needs of different audiences for communicating research (e.g. academia, industry, government, and public).
  • To foster a sensitivity and awareness about the importance of writing and speaking in plain language.
  • To review core messaging and matching of messages to key audiences with a focus on industry and government.
  • To develop a plan for CFRN product delivery and begin to develop products around thesis research in preparation for the Network’s final Annual General Meeting (November 2015).

The workshop was extremely successful. Participants were highly motivated throughout the workshop and reported positive feedback. HQP also noted the successful development of new skills in the following areas: writing briefing notes, developing core messages, understanding the needs of the fishing industry, being clear and concise, group facilitation, data visualization and improving scientific posters, and scientific writing.

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