Arthur MICHAUT, Institut Pasteur, France
ComSciCon is a workshop series for graduate students (i.e. students pursuing an advanced degree such as Masters or Doctorate) focused on improving their science communication skills. It was founded in Boston, USA, in 2012, by graduate students who wanted to create a platform to generate opportunities for their peers to practice science communication. ComSciCon’s goal is to empower young scientists to share technical concepts from their fields to diverse audiences. Our motivation is to improve the public’s perception of science and bring to light the diversity of scientists. During the workshop, attendees learn from professional communicators including journalists and educators, produce original works of science communication for publication, and interact with each other during a 3-day workshop leading to new projects. We aim to foster the development of new science communication projects and new collaborations between attendees, as they pursue careers as diverse as academic research, education, journalism, public service, and more.
ComSciCon is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization and the workshop is free of charge for students. Each workshop is supported by partner organizations such as scientific societies and universities. ComSciCon aims to broaden its links with such organizations to expand the number of communities (both geographic and disciplinary) directly served by ComSciCon programming.
ComSciCon has spread over the US during the past decade with the development of many regional chapters in parallel to the annual flagship workshop. Each event shares in common the same spirit: a workshop for students organized by students (or early-career scientists), plenty of time allotted to practical training, a curated cohort of modest size to encourage exchanges and foster collaborations.
The ComSciCon franchise has had recent international growth with a Canadian chapter (since 2019), including a Canadian national conference and several regional events, and a French national chapter (since 2020). A committee is currently developing a roadmap for new countries that would like to join the adventure. We welcome connections to graduate students worldwide who would like to engage in organizing science communication workshops and offer the ComSciCon experience to their communities.
In this communication, we will introduce the history and philosophy of ComSciCon. We will explain the process of organizing a workshop in a new country, focusing on the recent example of ComSciCon France. Finally, we will discuss ways for strengthening ComSciCon’s connections with new partners and developing its international anchorage.