For a group of graduate students, science is a lot more than research and discovery. It’s about communicating it to the general public.
That’s why SciComm@UCR, a student-led organization, has organized an inaugural Student Multimedia Science Communication competition for graduates and undergraduates at UC Riverside. The competition is open to students conducting research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, known as STEM. Participants must currently be conducting research with a UCR faculty member.
Submissions will be accepted through Nov. 12. Participants need to record a 3-5-minute video explaining the significance — and impact of their research.
“I watch a lot of YouTube and I think explaining science to the general public is a very high competency thing to do,” said Miranda Vinay, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry and SciComm@UCR member. “We have a lot of experts at UCR who can talk to non-science audiences. This will also get our researchers to showcase their work.”
Science communication and teaching skills are becoming more popular among publishers and funding agencies, and scientists need to connect with communities in general about their work, Vinay said.
First place winners will receive a $1,000 prize and a yearlong subscription to the journal Nature. Second and third place winners will also receive cash awards. Funding for the competition came from several partners, including the Provost, Grad Division, local employers, publishers and a professional science society.
Participants should have fun with the video, said Hannah Chu, a doctoral student in the Department of Entomology. The video challenge does not have restrictions on how to make the video; students can use props, animation, or whatever else they feel is necessary to clearly speak about their research. Videos will be licensed to the University of California and will live on the SciComm@UCR YouTube channel.
“The video doesn’t have to be about their current research, it can be about a scientific project they want to teach us about — as long as it’s tied back to the laboratory they were working at,” Chu said.
All submissions will be judged on content and communication; creativity; and video editing and quality. SciComm@UCR will have guest judges reviewing the submissions.
Winners will be announced in a Dec. 3 in-person award ceremony at UCR.