As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Never assume that just because you’re doing brilliant work that the people who could benefit from it will know about it – there are a whole range of audiences out there who may be interested beyond your academic peers, from industry to policymakers and patients. The ‘general public’ is a bit of an unhelpful catch-all, but if you can be a bit more specific about who you might want to reach – e.g. schools, minority ethnic groups, elderly adults – then there a huge range of mechanisms to reach them. Remember that you can cost these into your grants too where needed! Here are a few examples:
• Birmingham is one of 13 UK universities who have signed up to be founding partners of The Conversation UK (www.theconversation.com/uk) an open access news and commentary website produced by academics and journalists. For more info, and for other ways to interact with the press, contact Kara Bradley, our Media Relations Manager for Life Sciences.
• Think your work might be of interest on the telly? Or do you fancy taking an active role in the spotlight communicating your work to millions watching? Have a chat to the University’s Ideas Lab team (http://www.ideaslab.bham.ac.uk/)
• Interested in engaging face-to-face? There are resources (including funding) to support you via the University’s Public Engagement Working Group, details available on our intranet. For more info speak to Eliot Marston.
• Want to work with industry, but not sure how to make the right links? Or do you have the right links and you’re not sure what to do with them next? Why not speak to our Tech Transfer Officer (Claire Fenlon).