Student training in outreach communication
ESR of the ALKATRAS programme at the Naked Scientists workshop practicing ‘elevator talks’.
The early career researchers of the ALKATRAS programme have participated in a number of outreach programmes and events, in some cases together with other members of their host laboratories and supervisors and/or with their peers in the ALKATRAS programme.
This has been achieved by training the students in outreach activities providing them with the skills and tools required to disseminate their research activities to lay audiences. These skills were taught within 2 ALKATRAS events, the Naked Scientists workshop held in Cambridge in 2017 and the ALKATRAS retreat held in Monza in 2018. The Naked Scientists workshop in Cambridge provided them with the opportunity to develop podcasts (please see deliverable 7.5). In addition, the students learnt to present their research to a lay audience with feedback from their peers. At the workshop in Monza, the students had the opportunity to give ‘elevator talks’ on their own research project as well as to take part in ‘powerpoint karaoke’ whereby their communication skills were developed to give a presentation from previously unseen powerpoint slides on a diverse range of topics. Advice was also given on how to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to present their research findings to both lay and professional audiences. The students thoroughly enjoyed these experiences and were appreciative of the difficulties one might encounter when attempting to communicate with a lay audience.
Attendance at science festivals and other public outreach events
ESRs 1 and 15 (Stephen Ducray & Nina Prokoph), together with the ALKATRAS coordinator and project manager at the Cambridge Science Festival 2018
In addition, many of our students have attended science festivals whereby activities were designed to engage attendees of all age groups. Many of these activities have been documented on the ALKATRAS website on a specific outreach page. For example, ESRs 1 and 15 (Stephen Ducray & Nina Prokoph) attended the Cambridge University science festival in 2018 where they provided a range of activities to assist visitors in understanding cancers of the immune system. These activities ranged from ‘making white blood cell cookies’ to ‘making fake blood’ as well as a range of quizzes and craft activities. The students interacted with children and their parents, explaining their research, talking about blood and cancer in general and showing them blood smears under the microscope.
Another example is the Researchers’ Night 2018: 100 years of Czech Science held on 5th October 2018 which was attended by Cosimo Lobello who is conducting his research at the CEITEC institute in Brno. In addition, Domenico Sorrentino was a staff member at la Nuit Européenne des Chercheur·e·s 2018, Toulouse (https://www.univ-toulouse.fr/evenements/nuit-europeenne-des-chercheur-s-2018) and ESR11 (Serena Stadler) at the Schools Career Day “Amoeneburgia Tag” (Oct 6, 2017, Amoeneburg, Germany). ESR13 (Joanna Szydzik) participated in the European Researchers’ Night in Sweden (Forskarfredag): 28 September 2018 (please see below links for reports in Swedish:
ESR12 (Adriana Petruzzuolo) is the coordinator of Native scientist Italian in Paris (www.nativescientist.com). The association organizes workshops for children who speak a different language than the official one of the country in which they live (in this case Italians in France). The aim is to help them feel more comfortable with their bilingualism through science. Adrianna organised 2 workshops for this activity, one that was held in April 2019 and the other in May 2019.
Blogs and podcasts
ESR12 (Adriana Petruzzuolo) interacting with school pupils at a Native Scientist event in Paris.
Our students have prepared a number of blogs and podcasts which are all accessible from the ALKATRAS website (http://alkatras.erialcl.net/category/blog/). Podcasts are described further in the report on deliverable 7.5. In the blogs, the students have described and given insights into their research and events they have attended. For example, the students have described their experiences of scientific conferences, training courses, secondments and the pressures of conducting a PhD. Please see:
We have a Twitter feed that can be followed via @ALKATRA79756709 or #ALKATRAS. Recent research findings relevant to the ALKATRAS programme are highlighted here as well as discoveries made by the ALKATRAS training programme. In addition, the Twitter feed is used to advertise ALKATRAS and other relevant meetings and conferences to the general public as well as recruitment opportunities. Many of our students have their own Twitter accounts and therefore disseminate this information further by retweeting, for example ESR5 (Cosimo Lobello), @CosimoLobello, ESR4 @Geeta_Sharma19 and ESR7 @DomSorr.
Interaction with the press
Reports of our research findings on a variety of websites.
Some of our students have disseminated their research activities and experience of research through interactions with the press. For example, ESR9 (Mariantonia Costanza) was interviewed for an article published in the online magazine, Berlin about her experiences of being an Italian student in Germany (https://berlinocacioepepemagazine.com/2019-da-avellino-a-berlino-per-studiare-i-tumori-del- sangue-in-italia-la-ricerca-e-vittima-della-burocrazia/).
Other press releases that have arisen from the ALKATRAS group can be found at:
Dissemination through publications
An entire edition of the journal Cancers was dedicated to research papers from the ALKATRAS project.
In addition, a variety or primary research articles have been published or are in preparation for publication.
Dissemination of research findings through oral and poster presentations
The students and beneficiaries of the network have given presentations regarding their research undertaken within the ALKATRAS programme at a number of events as detailed below for the students:
|1 (Stephen Ducray)||2018 poster presentation, Annual Pathology Departmental Symposium, University of Cambridge; 2018 selected oral abstract presentation CAYA-NHL, Rotterdam triennial conference; 2018 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Cambridge; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna (awarded best oral presentation); 2019 oral presentation, Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, University of Cambridge Symposium|
|2 (Jack Chiang)||Poster talk at the Young Scientists Association PhD Symposium 2017, Medical University of Vienna; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|3 (Karthick Natarajan)||Presentations given at institutional PhD student seminars|
|4 (Ines Garces)||Presentations given at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Scientific Advisor Board Review (November 2016); LBG Meeting for Health Sciences (November 2016); Winter Semester Progress Report Presentations (December 2016, February 2017); 2 Summer Semester Progress Report Presentations (April 2017, June 2017); Presentation of an experimental technique in Patho-meets-Labo seminar “Western Blotting: theory and technique” (June 2017); 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|5 (Cosimo Lobello)||Poster presentations at the retreat of the CEITEC PhD school (April 2017, Czech Rep.) and the joint young scientists retreat with Institut Curie and Institut Pasteur (September 2017, Czech Rep.); 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna (awarded runner-up prize for best oral presentation)|
|6 (Ivonne Aidee)||Poster presentation at the PhD experimental medicine, Annual Retreat to Heiligkreuztal 2017; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|7 (Geeta Sharma)||Participated in the annual initiative “Arance della Salute” organised by the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC) to help raise donations and spread awareness of cancer to the general public. Blog post: http://alkatras.erialcl.net/2017/03/03/getting-to-grips-with-new-technologies-in-genome-analysis/; 2018 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Cambridge|
|8 (Domenico Sorrentino)||Poster presentation at the CRCT retreat, Toulouse, France; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|9 (Mariantonia Costanza)||2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|10 (Ines Mota)||2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|11 (Serena Stadler)||Presentation at the 9th Annual GGL Conference on Life Sciences, September 2016, Giessen, Germany; A news article about the EU-project was published in the local newspapers “Giessener Anzeiger” and “Giessener Allgemeine “and the Justus-Liebig-University journal “uniforum” 05/2015 page 7 as well as the JLU website at the start of the project in 2015; To inform the local public about ALKATRAS and the project, a press release was submitted to the Press department of JLU Giessen on 13.06.2017 that will be published in the local press and on the JLU website; Participated in the visit of a school group (Stiftsschule Sankt Johann, Amoeneburg, Germany) to our laboratory. The class, under the guidance of the ESR, performed flow cytometric staining of lymphoma and leukaemia cells as well as cDNA based PCR to detect NPM-ALK fusion gene transcripts by classical RT-PCR and quantification by digital droplet PCR; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|12 (Adriana Petruzzuolo)||Presentation at the 37th meeting of the French Society of Haematology, 2017; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|13 (Joanna Szydzik)||Poster presentation, October 2016, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2nd Novel Neuroblastoma Biomarkers of Clinical Relevance Meeting; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|14 (Teresa Poggio)||Poster presentation at the 26th Scientific Workshop – organized by the department of Internal Medicine Lenzkirch/ Saig 3-5 March 2017; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
|15 (Nina Prokoph)||Presentation of data for progress to the second year of the PhD; 2019 oral presentation ERIA/ALKATRAS annual meeting, Vienna|
I am a volunteer of the association Native Scientist. The association organize workshops for children who speak a different language than the official one of the country they live in (in my case Italian). Its aim is to help them feeling more comfortable with their bilingualism through science.
Together with the award-winning The Naked Scientists three groups of PhD students from the EU Marie Curie European Training Network ALKATRAS get hands on with science communication. Listen to their podcasts: