Each year, Inspiring Australia NSW facilitates research presentations in libraries to make it easier for community members to engage with scientists.
Last year, 33 researchers participated in Talking Science events at various Sydney Libraries and we would like to extend this opportunity to researchers in Sydney and in regional NSW.
We are recruiting researchers at all levels of their careers and across all of the STEM disciplines to present short talks and demonstrations in a local library, in particular during National Science Week this August.
NSW libraries welcome informative, short talks and panel discussions that can be accessed by a general public audience. They particularly value presentations on topical issues and tell us that their audiences enjoy listening to personal stories from researchers about what they do, why it matters and how they came to choose their career paths.
Hands-on demonstrations are popular as well as personal anecdotes that illustrate the day to day life as a scientist or engineer.
Library program managers also welcome speed meet sessions and family-oriented events that would be suitable for parents accompanying late primary and early high school aged children.
What’s in it for you?
Library presentations are highly valued by community members and participation is a great way for researchers to develop strong public presentation skills.
Presenting a short talk in a library is very different to giving a short talk to peers in an academic setting. Audiences are intelligent and curious but unlikely to know much about the scientific method or fundamentals of engineering and computer science if they have not been exposed to scientists, engineers or IT experts in the past.
Researchers putting their hand up for a short talk during National Science Week will therefore be invited to a public presentation skills training session and provided with materials that will help them succeed in engaging the public.
Why get involved?
You may be aware that Australia is experiencing a STEM skills shortage. The problem begins at school, with Australia lagging in maths and science on many international benchmarks. Gender equity is also an ongoing issue, with fewer women pursuing STEM degrees than men.
Each time researchers discuss their work with non-scientists, they provide role models for young people and their advisers. A memorable interaction with a scientist or engineer can hugely influence a young person’s career choice.
More broadly, when more members of the public understand what researchers do, they may be more inclined to support public funding of research and care when investment is reduced.
If you would like to give a short talk (about 20 minutes followed by a Q and A), take part in a panel discussion or speed meet session in a library and are able to participate in the early evenings or on the weekend, we would love to hear from you!
Please identify your topic, provide us with a brief event description and express your interest by completing this form by Friday 5 April 2019. We will then be in touch to match you with a library and let you know of training opportunities.
Further questions can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org