Voices of VoYS

Our Voice of Young Science members come from all over the UK; read what some of them have been up, what they are working on, and their reactions to our VoYS workshops.

Jayanthiny Kangatharan

Jayanthiny took part in our Standing up for Science workshop in March 2021. In a guest blog for the British Psychological Society, Jayanthiny talks about what she learned from the workshop and tips on how you can start engaging journalists, policymakers, and the public with your research.

Read Jayanthiny’s tips here (18 October 0221)

Peer Review Week

Check out this four-part video series on what Voice of Young Science members Gareth Moore, Robin Brooker and Léna Prouchet have to say about Peer Review Week’s 2021 theme of Identity.

Watch the videos here (20-24 September 2021)

Madeleine Ball

Madeline was an intern in our London office and got involved in our Quality of Research work. In this guest post for PLOS, Madeleine discusses the role of identity in peer review.

Read about Madeleine’s thoughts here (19 September 2021)

Sarah Lu

Sarah joined our Standing up for Science workshop in November 2020. In a blog for Public Policy Southampton, she shares her advice on how to effectively communicate research with a polarized audience.

Read about Sarah’s experiences here (25 August 2021)

Gareth Moore

Gareth introduces an interview with the 2020 John Maddox Early Career Prize recipient, Professor Anne Abbott published by Springer Nature. In the interview, Professor Abbott talks about her work studying and challenging the traditional treatment of carotid stenosis.

Read the interview here (20 May 2021)

Michaela Goodwin

Michaela participated in a Standing up for Science workshop in November 2020. In a blog for Wiley she shares how to approach media engagement as an ECR to make your voice heard.

Read about it here (8 April 2021)

VoYS at Evidence Week 2020

Four VoYS members: Emma Braysher, Shamma Rattan Booth, Claire Price and Tom Clegg joined other members of the public from around the UK to ask local MPs and a panel of experts questions at the Evidence Week opening event. There were questions on issues from fishing policies to climate change. 

Watch the event here (16 November 2020)

Read about Evidence Week 2020 here (1 April 2021)

Gabriella Mikiewicz

Gabriella joined us in Brussels to participate in a Standing up for Science workshop and wrote a guest blog for Wiley on how to engage with EU policymaking.

Read about it here (19 October 2020)

Rebecca Chandler-Bostock

Rebecca joined our Quality and Peer Review workshop in June. In a guest blog for PLOS, she writes about the process of peer review and why and how early career researchers should get involved in peer review.   

Read about her experience here (22 September 2020)

Peer Review Week

During Peer Review Week 2020, five early career researchers participating in the Peer Review Mentoring Opportunity with Nature Communications got in touch to let us know their thoughts on why peer review matters in society, why trust in peer review is important, how to improve peer review and how to get involved in peer review.

Watch their responses here (21-25 September 2020)

Peer Review Mentoring Scheme

Over the summer of 2020, five early career researchers took part in the Peer Review Mentoring Opportunity run by Sense about Science and Nature communications. Before getting started, they all contemplated what role researchers can play in discussions about research quality.

Read about their thoughts here (20 September 2020)

Tiago Marcos

Tiago was in Glasgow for a Peer Review workshop and here he writes about what he thinks are the 3 main barriers to peer review and how to overcome them in a guest blog published by F1000.

Read all about it here (15 June 2020)

Samuel Confederat

Samuel joined us in Paris for a public engagement workshop as part of a Marie Curie PhD network conference. He write about his change in mindset of what public engagement means, and how to do public engagement effectively as early career researchers.

Read about his experience here (10 June 2020)

Alex Lloyd

Alex participated in our London workshop last November and volunteered at the Maddox Prize reception that evening. In a guest blog for Springer Nature, he writes about the importance of celebrating those who stand up for science.

Read it here (21 May 2020)

Marcos Valenzuela-Ortega

Marcos was a former intern in our Dublin office and attended a Standing up for Science workshop in Edinburgh in September 2019. He writes on his main takeaways from the workshop.

Read his top tips here (April 17 2020)

Oscar Williams

PhD researcher and VoYS member Oscar came along with us to Evidence Week in the UK Parliament. He writes about his journey to the UK Parliament in this blogpost on SAGE Social Science Space.

Read all about it here (October 7 2019)

Cecilia Medupin

Cecilia attended a Peer Review workshop in London and writes about her key learnings from the workshop, and how the workshop help remove the mask of peer review.

Read about her experience here (September 20 2019)

Laura Chatland

“The workshop was interesting for me, coming from a slightly different perspective in my role as a Research Officer within the Research Management team at Marie Curie. Our team is responsible for administering the peer review process on grant applications we’ve received from researchers before they are considered for research funding. The workshop provided me with an understanding of some of the issues with peer review that may help us to streamline our processes in the future.”

Laura attended a Peer Review workshop in London and writes about what goes on in our Peer Review workshops.

Read all about her experience here (September 17 2019)

Marie Lisandra Zepeda Mendoza

Dr. Marie Lisandra Zepeda Mendoza, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, discusses peer review recognition and training and shares her views on #QualityInPeerReview, the theme of this year’s Peer Review Week.

Read the full blog here (14 September 2019)

Joan Chang

In this Engagement Matters post, Joan Chang, a postdoctoral research scientist in the Division of Cell Matrix Biology & Regenerative Medicine in the University of Manchester, shares her experience of attending a Standing up for Science workshop and encourages other scientists to engage with the media to help combat misinformation.

Read more here (26 July 2019)

Morgan Lowther

“We can’t all become media darlings and the go-to face of science overnight, but these tips can help you get you started and bring your research to the world beyond the conference hall. Gathered from a panel of journalists at a Voice of Young Science: Standing Up for Science workshop hosted by Sense about Science, this advice has changed how I look at engaging with the media.”

Morgan is a PhD student from the University of Birmingham who attended a Standing up for Science workshop in Manchester. Morgan shares the top tips in interacting with the media in this blog for The Wiley Network.

Read his blog for the Wiley Network here (27 June 2019)

Peter Morris

Peter Morris is a PhD Student from the University of Warwick, who attended a Standing up for Science workshop in March 2019 and has written “5 Tips for Communicating Research to Policy Makers” about the experience.

Communicating with policy makers can feel daunting, but using these tips can set you on the right path toward ensuring your research has an impact.

Read the blog in full (4 June 2019)

Britt Hermes

Britt Hermes is a former naturopath who, since leaving the profession in 2015, has been a vocal critic of the field, which has brought much praise but along with it many objections. As a result of her work, Britt is in the middle of a lawsuit brought against her by Colleen Huber, a naturopath based in the US.

Britt is one of our longer standing VoYS members and she embodies the VoYS ethos by continuing to stand up for science in the face of such adversity. Sanjana talked to Britt about her experience of being sued, her time as a naturopath and the advice she has for early career researchers wanting to enter the public discussion.

Read the interview with Britt in full (27 February 2018)

Lidiya Nedevska

Lidiya got on a six hour train from Oxford for our Glasgow peer review workshop and it was, in her words “definitely worth it.”

Read her blog for Taylor & Francis (9 January 2018)

Academic Stories

This initiative from European career network Academic Positions, ran a series on VoYS members and Sense about Science Eu director Sofie Vanthournout, who coordinates VoYS EU.

Join Sense about Science in Asking for Evidence (20 November 2017)

Standing up for Women in Science (23 November 2017)

Making Sense of Science with David Robert Grimes (27 November 2017)

Emily May Armstrong

Emily was at our workshop in Edinburgh and wrote an empowering piece on why it’s important to stand up for science:

It is vital for ECRs to engage, excite, and enlighten the public; however, many ECRs believe they aren’t good enough. We’d much rather refer a journalist after a big break to our supervisor. Well, we are good enough. We have completed three years of broad training, followed by three, or four more years of in-depth, specific, precise, and vigorous training in our field. We are the experts.

Read Emily’s guest piece for Glasgow’s PGR blog (12 October 2017) and take a look at Emily’s own blog too.

Sarah McCafferty

Sarah raised some great issues at our Edinburgh workshop:

Little old me with no postgraduate training beyond my BSc (Hons) and in the infancy of my technical career wasn’t sure if it would be suitable for me. But shy bairns get nowt; so I got in touch with the “Sense about Science” team and they replied positively, saying that although the event was primarily aimed at PhD and post-docs, if I applied I would definitely be considered. I think the lesson here is don’t feel limited (particularly when it comes to science communication) because you are a technician.

Read Sarah’s entertaining play-by-play of our workshop and her take home messages. (3 October 2017)

Chas Nelson

Chas Nelson was at our University of Edinburgh Standing up for Science workshop and had a great blog published the same day:

I think a lot of the rest comes with experience, talking to those who have experience in engaging the media, talking to those in the media. So, those of us in science who have yet to do so: why not dig in? Why not get involved in campaigns like Ask for Evidence? Or highlight bad science or reporting by contacting the reporters/outlets involved? Or, just as a start, why not attend a similar session yourself?

Read Chas’ take on the workshop on his blog. (22 September 2017)

Rebecca Linnett

Rebecca was at our Standing up for Science workshop at the University of Warwick. She explores the day in a three part series on her blog:

This workshop aimed to help early career researchers make their voices heard in public debates about science by hosting panel discussions with scientists and science journalists who talked about how to effectively engage with the media about science and research.

Read the first part of Rebecca’s series on the workshop on her blog. (7 July 2017)

Part two focuses on the journalist session. (7 July 2017)

Part three is all about resources and tips from experts to help you stand up for science. (12 July 2017)

David Docquier

David came to our first Standing up for Science workshop in Brussels; with a focus on “Communicating your research to policy makers and journalists”:

This workshop was really a great way for me and other EU researchers to get tips for communicating with policy makers and journalists. I am sure these recommendations will be useful in my potential future contacts with policymakers and journalists.

David writes about the workshop for Taylor & Francis. (6 July 2017)

Adam Bateson

Adam was interested in peer review and came to our London workshop. He wrote for Taylor & Francis, and the Social Metwork on his experience as an early career researcher:

Ensuring I have a thorough understanding of the peer review process enables me to defend and explain the scientific process to the public.

Read the write up for Taylor & Francis and the Social Metwork, a blog by University of Reading meteorology PhD students. (2 June 2017)

James Whiting

Science and the media, James shares the advice for young researchers from our media workshop at the University of Manchester:

The workshop was informative and valuable and I’d recommend taking a look, getting involved and taking advantage of what Voice of Young Science has to offer.

Read James’ account of the workshop and check out the rest of his blog. (10 April 2017)

Jade Pickering

Jade was at our Standing up for Science workshop in April. Take a look at what she took from the day:

We believe that there are people with more expertise than us. However, a PhD is such a niche topic of research that we dedicate a substantial portion of our lives to, and whilst we’re doing that research we are, in actual fact, probably the world leading expert on that topic (thanks to Sofie, director of Sense about Science EU, for highlighting that point). We are perfectly qualified to provide our expert voice, and we shouldn’t forget that.

Jade talks about the workshop and “general musings on PhD life” on her blog. (7 April 2017)

Clara Calia

An early career researcher’s take-home tips on peer review, from research assistant Dr Clara Calia:

Everybody who is starting out in research or is simply interested in science should have the opportunity to participate in this kind of discussion!

Clara writes for Elsevier on our November peer review workshop. (20 February 2017)

Connor Bamford and Joanna Crispell

Connor and Joanna talk about the practical tips of working with the media that they took from our Standing up for Science workshop in Glasgow:

We would recommend it to every scientist, especially those at an early stage in their career.

Connor and Joanna write for the University of Glasgow-MRC Centre for Virus Research. (19 February 2017)

Dugald Foster

Dugald came to our peer review workshop in Glasgow, writing about the event and his take-home messages:

Even scientifically trained minds are not completely free from unscientific thinking and bias, and recognising this will ensure that peer review develops into a positive and effective tool.

Read Dugald’s blog for F1000. (18 January 2017)

Taylor & Francis

Taylor & Francis Author Services spoke to early career researchers at our Standing up for Science workshop. They captured responses from some of the early career researchers who attended:

“I was really interested in a comment made by the panel about keeping in mind two or three points you want to make when being interviewed. When I spoke on the radio I had perhaps 45 seconds of airtime and trying to get across four years of research in that timeframe was a challenge! I was also interested to hear from the journalist panel and how they are keen for researchers to come to them rather than the other way, that was definitely encouraging.” – Stephanie Wright

Read more comments from VoYS members about their experiences with the media and what they took from the event. (9 December 2016)

Hilary J Anderson

Hilary is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow and attended our Glasgow media workshop:

It has been my experience that journalists are portrayed as only interested in making headlines rather than to invest in your work. However, after this panel discussion, thankfully my attitude has been changed!

Read Hilary’s blog on the Centre for Cell Engineering website. (5 December 2016)

Dr Federica Giordani

Federica is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow and attended our Glasgow peer review workshop. She writes for the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology on the good and bad of the peer review system:

Peer review is the process by which the contribution of a piece of research is assessed by independent experts in the field before being published in an academic journal. It is a practice of quality-control that aims to make sure that only the most rigorous research is published.

Read Federica’s article: Behind the research: What is the peer review system? (15 November 2016)

Kate Elliott

Kate, British Institute of Radiology (BIR) member attended our London media workshop:

I often get annoyed at the coverage of science in the media and the misuse of statistics and results. Recently, the Brexit “debate” has left me ranting at friends, and I often find myself defending junior doctors on social media. When I received the email from BIR advertising the media workshop, it struck me as an opportunity to learn what I could do to positively influence the public perception of science, and to hear first-hand from journalists about their involvement.

Read Kate’s BIR blog about attending our Standing up for Science workshop. (2 Nov 2016)

Olivia Varsaneux

Olivia, visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine writes about how science communication can save lives:

As an epidemiologist, the way I communicate with communities impacts my ability to assess risk, understand trends and set up control measures. These skills are integral to my personal development and to public safety. After witnessing the societal impact of misinformation during the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa firsthand, I quickly recognized the necessity to develop these skills further. Therefore, when I heard the charity Sense about Science was running a Standing up for Science media workshop, I didn’t hesitate to get involved, and went along to learn techniques to address scientific misconceptions and better communicate evidence to a wider audience.

Read Olivia’s article in Elsevier on why science communication matters. (13 October 2016)

Haafizah Hoosen

Haafizah, Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) member writes about challenging bad science in them media:

So, here’s a question… What do you do when you see science based headlines in the news? Do you accept the story because it’s filled with facts and figured? Do you totally disregard it because no doubt it’s been sensationalised? Or are you somewhere in the middle of that spectrum? Can you spot bad science – what do you do about it?

Read Haafizah’s blog about attending our Standing up for Science media workshop. (1 July 2016)

Published: 22 February 2017