National research competitions offer students chance to hone communications skills

Several upcoming national challenges provide students with the opportunity to practice their communication skills and prepare for future careers in research.

Depending on the contest, eligible applicants include graduate students, undergraduate students and research professors.

The competitions are:

Brock University has a reputation for doing exceptionally well in these competitions. Last year, two Brock graduate students, Emily Ham and Sarah Walker, placed second and third overall in the 2019 Science, Action competition. Stephanie Beni made the finals of the SSHRC Storytellers competition.

“In hosting this competition, NSERC has provided an important opportunity for young scientists to promote basic research and to communicate their work to the public,” said Walker. “This competition allowed us to showcase some of the really important questions that are being answered in laboratories, while also showing the world that research matters.”

In 2018, Dana Harris, a Master of Sustainability student, took two top prizes in the Science Exposed contest, winning a Jury Prize and People’s Choice Award. Harris’ photo will be among 20 photos from the 2018 contest to be displayed in Thistle Hallway starting Friday, Nov. 22.

Diane Dupont, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, also encourages students to participate in the research communications challenges.

“An important part of being a researcher is learning to communicate your work in a way that engages and informs the public,” she said. “This is a valuable addition to your graduate education at Brock.”

Competition details are below.

Science Exposed

Science Exposed is a photographic competition devoted exclusively to images of Canadian scientific research in all fields of study. Organized by NSERC, the competition is open to all individuals or groups who carry out research in the public or private sectors, including graduate students and research professors.

Submission deadline: Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Prizes: Three Jury Prizes of $2,000 and a People’s Choice Award of $2,000

The Storytellers

Hosted by SSHRC, The Storytellers contest challenges students to show Canadians how social sciences and humanities research is affecting our lives, world and future for the better. In a maximum of three minutes or 300 words, students communicate about a SSHRC-funded project that is either their own or their supervisors’. Contestants are encouraged to push creative boundaries — the submission can be a video, podcast, infographic, text or other form of communication.

Submission deadline: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Prizes: The top 25 finalists will receive a $3,000 cash prize as well as registration to the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of British Columbia to attend a special communications master class and deliver a live presentation at the Storytellers Showcase. Five final winners will be selected who will receive an expense-paid trip for their presentation to be featured at the 2020 SSHRC Impact Awards event.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Challenge

The 3MT Challenge competition is an opportunity for graduate students to talk about why their research matters in a compelling and challenging 180-second pitch format.

Abstract submission deadline: Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

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