Scientists must communicate effectively

Thursday, 29 September, 2016

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Scientists need to communicate in a way that our industry partners can understand; so ran the underlying theme of Friday night’s ‘Science and Industry Forum’ at the University of New England (UNE).

The forum held in Armidale NSW and hosted by the UNE Student Science and Technology Association (UNESSTA), brought scientists from as far afield as Melbourne to talk about their experiences in the medical, genetic, agricultural, and environmental fields of science. The forum was well attended, with an estimated forty university and high school students interested in science careers.

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Eco Logical Australia was well represented at the forum, with three speakers from the aquatic discipline. Dr Peter Hancock, ELAs Principal Aquatic Ecologist, emphasized the important role that we, as environmental consultants, have in guiding our clients through the often-complex legislative requirements needed to minimize their impact on the environment.

ELA’s Senior River Scientist, Dr Mark Southwell, discussed the problems we have in conveying complex scientific information to members of the public from diverse backgrounds including farmers, government regulators, and the broader community. Mark provided excellent examples from his work in researching the benefits of environmental flows in the Murray-Darling Basin.

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Lindsey Frost, an Ecology & Impact Assessment Consultant with ELA spoke last, but stole the show. As a recent graduate from UNE, and VC Award-winner, Lindsey spoke of the need to start building your network of contacts as early as you can. This will help you to establish your future career as a scientist, and once you become established, it will help you develop fruitful industry partnerships.

The evening wound up with a general question and answer session that delved deeper into the mechanisms different scientists use for communication, and how students can make their own opportunities in forging their science career.

Story by Dr Peter Hancock, Principal Aquatic & Groundwater Ecologist, Eco Logical Australia

Images care of UNESSTA