Communicating beyond the University

A NEW module aimed at boosting students’ communications skills is set to launch early in 2017.

The ‘Skills in communicating research beyond the university’ is a 10 credit module designed to enable students to better explain research to people outside the higher education sector.

It is designed to equip students with the right skills to compete and thrive in a global research and employment market.

Aimed at level 2 undergraduate students from any discipline across the University of Leeds, it has no prior requirements and forms part of the discover theme modules in employability and skills.

Different audiences

Dr Charlotte Haigh, Associate Professor in Human Physiology, who designed and leads the new module, says students are trained to communicate with peers and colleagues but little training exists in communicating to a wider audience.

She says: “Communicating the research we conduct at University is an important skill both to inform the public in what we do, to inspire the next generation but also get the public involved in research and keep research relevant to the needs of society. This can also be a way of demonstrating impact of key research work.

The challenges are equipping undergraduate students with this wide range of skills irrespective of their discipline of study. These skills need to be developed early in a career to make sure the researchers of the future are fully equipped to design, develop and discuss their research with different audiences.”

Researchers and students communicating their research to the public at the University of Leeds' first research open day

BE CURIOUS: researchers and students communicating their research to the public at the University of Leeds’ first research open day.

Future research

Key aspects of the module include teaching students to develop a planned project over the semester of teaching; using experts’ testimony in different forms of communicating, and using the breadth of research to inspire students to talk more about it in a more creative way.

Dr Haigh adds: “The key outcome is to make students aware of the importance of communicating the excellent research performed at the University to a much wider audience and why this is important for the future of responsible innovation and research.”

For more information contact Dr Haigh at: C.Haigh@leeds.ac.uk