WorldFish supports attendees at Crawford Fund Master Class
Researchers and managers from agricultural research institutions in both developing and developed countries acknowledge they need to better communicate the benefits of investing in agricultural science. This process needs specialist skills, but for many developing country institutions this role falls to science staff with little training in communication.
As a means of helping to address this gap the Crawford Fund staged a Master Class in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 27 November to 3 December 2011 titled Communicating research to stakeholders. Participants from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka attended.
WorldFish sponsored the attendance of two senior science managers from partner organizations – both from the Philippines – at the six-day course. They were Dr. Della Grace Galope-Bacaltos from the Southern Philippines Agri-business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) and Dr. Alice Joan de la Gente Ferrer from the Integrated Coastal Management Program Division of Social Sciences at University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV). The course comprised both practical and theoretical instruction, including developing a communication plan suited to each participants needs as well as training in various communication tools, how to work with journalists, which included practicing being interviewed, and in giving presentations.
Dr Ferrer used results from her most recent research project as a case study. She was full of praise for the training: “It brought home the point that there is more to publishing than getting research results into journals,” she said. “They must be communicated to the users of the information to make them useful. UPV does not have an office tasked to communicate research to stakeholders, and it is left to us personally to make it happen. The training certainly enhanced my capability to communicate my research to stakeholders.”
Dr Bacaltos commented: “The training was awesome! I really learned a lot. The communication planning and the effective ways to express and organize the research results and implications in fact sheets, media releases and policy briefs were the most useful aspects for me.” She is intent on re-echoing the training in her school by developing customized communication plans and policy briefs for the various end-users of the school's "stored" research results.
The training was organized and managed by Cathy Reade, Coordinator of the Crawford Fund’s Public Awareness program, with assistance provided pro bono by professional science media trainers Jenni Metcalfe and Toss Gasgoine. Journalists from Australian and in-country media outlets, and staff from Australian and international development organisations also provided support at no charge.