UCL trained Early Career Flood Researchers to brief policy makers more effectively
Seven Early Career Researchers from universities around the UK have been trained to guide policy makers more effectively on the risk of flooding from climate change. We are proud to support this process.
30th May 2019
Early career researchers develop their ‘broker’ skills
The goal of the training programme, designed and run by members of the UCL Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Science, was to equip Early Career Researchers with the insights and tools to develop and present their scientific knowledge in ways relevant to policy and decision-making. This in turn should lead to improved framing of their research activities to deliver greater value to society.
"Engaging effectively with different stakeholders requires experience and skill,” explained Professor Chris Rapley from UCL Earth Sciences. "These are challenging to develop in competition with the other requirements of a research career, and few formal training opportunities exist."
Professor Rapley said a cultural change is needed within the climate science community, “to encourage and reward researchers to become champions of their science to non-scientific ‘user’ communities.”
Researchers learn digital storytelling techniques to engage non-specialists
The three-day residential course, supported with HEIF funding from UCL Innovation & Enterprise, combined state-of-the-art digital storytelling techniques from leadership training in the corporate sector with insights from the neurosciences and behavioural sciences. Experiential and creative teaching methods were also explored.
Participants had the opportunity to learn from people with years of experience at the interface of climate science and policy, through facilitated sessions and by allowing them to interview the policy experts in informal but structured settings.
At the end of the training, participants had four weeks in which to organise an event to present their science in a relevant way to 20 invited policy makers.
Scientists share lessons learned through Early Career Network
The trainees were sufficiently inspired by the course to establish an ‘Early Career Network’ to sustain and extend their new skills and insights. More than 40 people have joined this network, which held its inaugural meeting in London.
The training programme, now that it has been successfully tested, will be geared up for larger trainee cohorts and a more wide ranging skills development programme.
Commenting on the course, one of the trainees said: "Prior to this, my only experience in policy communication was academic. The course provided a space where we could speak freely about our own experiences and have thought-provoking discussions in a supportive environment. This was hugely valuable in allowing me the opportunity to engage more effectively with policy makers”
"The combination of approaches got me thinking more about how to bridge the gap in communication and understanding between climate science and policy”