Sharing the stories behind your research

Inspiring Science is a monthly talk series that connects Sydney’s early and mid career researchers with the general public through talks in Sydney libraries. Expressions of interest for the 2015 season are now open. By participating in one of these Inspiring Science sessions, you’ll get to practice talking about your work in new ways and begin to develop a personal narrative that tells the unique story of why you do what you do.

The purpose of the Inspiring Science talks series is to help researchers develop better presentation skills. The series is particularly targeting researchers who are interested in improving how they explain why their work matters to audiences who may know very little about the problems they are trying to solve. This opportunity requires very different preparation to how you might develop a formal presentation to research peers. If you put the effort in, it could help you develop new and accessible ways to talk about what you do. The 20-minute talks are intended to be entertaining as well as informative. Above all, an Inspiring Science library talk should aim to be memorable and inspire audiences to find out more – not only about your work, but also about you!

Communicating science to non-scientists can be particularly challenging for researchers working in highly specialised fields. But communicating why any work matters to non-specialists is a crucial skill that many of us need to utilise throughout our careers, no matter what field we work in. If we can explain what motivates us to solve a particular problem, and why someone else should care, we make ourselves relevant. From this point of connection, a dialogue can begin.

The format

Each month, two researchers are invited to present for twenty minutes at Ultimo Library, with questions at the end. The audience is drawn from regular library patrons and people who want to discover more about the science around them. The 2014 series was a great success, with four sessions held at Ultimo and Customs House libraries.

The 2015 dates are still being finalised but talks will most likely be held on the second Wednesday each month in the evening from 6 to 7pm. In addition, there will be two major events held at Customs House in the Reading Room, most likely during National Science Week in August and later in the year. Inspiring Science particularly invites participation by researchers who wish to connect with non-scientists and find compelling ways to inspire connection and empathy.

What we provide

Inspiring Australia will offer all participants access to some group presentation training and will provide feedback on your presentation before you deliver your talk.

In order to ensure quality presentations, researchers must be prepared to attend a training session and also to submit a draft presentation at least one month prior to their talk.

Participants must write a brief description of what they intend to talk about and submit a high resolution image. Strict copy deadlines for City of Sydney libraries must be met as publicity schedules go out well in advance.


To express your interest please email Jackie Randles a 200 word paragraph that explains what you do and why it matters, written in a style that would attract audiences who know very little about what you do.

Hint: this information could potentially be used as publicity for your talk so think about why someone who knows nothing about your work might care, and how your research could relate to them.

Inspiring Science 2014 season