Making research accessible: Identifying key messages and communicating them clearly, simply and without unnecessary jargon is a challenge for many scientists. WRENmedia is working closely with five new research projects of the International Development Research Centre's (IDRC) Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF) initiative, to help them engage with key audiences and share insights from their work as the research process unfolds. Following a one-week communication workshop in early 2015, we are providing on-call guidance and support to ensure that projects continue to get clear messages to those that need to hear them.
In 2013-14, WRENmedia devised and implemented a series of ‘Impact and Influence’ workshops on behalf of IDRC’s Agriculture and Food Security programmes in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. In three one-week workshops, eighty researchers, including Principal Investigators and Canadian scientists, worked together to write a series of outcome stories and policy briefs, drawing on the projects’ recent research findings. These were subsequently published and used to raise awareness of the links between specific policy measures and key development goals.
Tension, misunderstanding and lack of respect between scientists and journalists has hampered effective, accurate reporting on science in many parts of the world, not least in sub-Saharan Africa. This has contributed to a widespread mistrust of scientific solutions, which frequently pervades the higher echelons of government as well as the wider public. Through joint workshops for scientists and journalists, we encourage the two sides to understand each other and work together to improve science communication. The events have been supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) among others.