There is a funded 3 year PhD position on “Thermal Metamaterials: a new Heat Conduction Control Technology” available at the University of Canterbury Nanofabrication Facility.
See attached flier and http://www.elec.canterbury.ac.
MESA’s 3D Printing workshop will be held next Thursday (29th May) in conjunction with Masters students from VUW School of Design.
9:30 – 3:30 pm
Venue: Victoria University of Wellington AM 411
The MacDiarmid Institute unarguably comprises of the nation’s shinning lights in nanotechnology and advanced materials. We increasingly see cross discipline teams, within the MacDiarmid Institute, being established to draw together complementary expertise which when combined opens up opportunities which would remain untapped without such collaboration. As science experts we readily seek out collaborations to advance science whilst satisfying our thirst to understand the world around us on the macro and micro scales. The MacDiarmid Institute is committed to passing on the significant scientific knowledge and expertise through delivery of exemplar PhD training which includes workshops and boot camps in science commercialisation.
When students select their PhD they tend to identify an area of interest without considering where their research fits in a real world application. Supervisors are the first point of call to develop scientific skills and knowledge. However, supervisors have varying levels of commercialisation experience and may not be the most ideal person to provide commercialisation training due to lack of experience. Those supervisors who have commercialisation experience simply do not always have time to develop commercial opportunities in addition to their traditional PI or AI responsibilities. The focus of the workshop is to work with PhD students and post docs so they identify the commercial applications of their research in the long and short term and to use the MacDiarmid Institute Commercialisation programme as part of their training.
Join a select group of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers from around the world this August 5-14 to help shape the future of chemical information! During this all-expense-paid trip, you’ll get to exchange ideas with CAS scientists and learn about the latest research advances at the248th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco, CA.
Apply for the 2014 SciFinder Future Leaders in Chemistry program by Sunday, March 30 at http://www.cas.org/products/scifinder/futureleaders.
A doctoral scholarship is currently available for the spintronics group in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
The official document, with full details can be found here: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/scholarship/forms/Natali%20Regs.pdf
Last month, courtesy of a scholarship from MESA to cover registration, I was fortunate enough to attend the Science Media Centre’s SAVVY workshop in Auckland. Twelve researchers, including myself, participated in the two-day long media skills workshop, and initially I have to say I felt a bit out of my depth when meeting my cohort; the participants had a broad range of prior experience with the media (nearly all more than myself), came from a wide range of disciplines and research institutions, and ranged from PhD students and early to mid-career researchers, to professors and Heads of Department. The diversity of the group however was a definite asset, and it was somewhat reassuring to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt out of my comfort zone – even the most experienced of the workshop participants seemed to have a few nerves during on-camera practice interviews.Auckland SAVVY participants on the Breakfast couch inside TVNZ Studio 4 [reproduced from here]
Over two days, we each developed media pitches on our own research, which we presented to a panel of journalists on the second day. Despite my suspicions being confirmed that materials science is somewhat harder to sell to the media and the public than some other fields of science, SAVVY was definitely a valuable experience. The focus was very much on media skills, and as such a fair portion of the workshop was devoted to learning about how the media works; this included a visit to TVNZ and a media Q&A panel with journalists from both television and print media. Many of the skills developed, however, were more general communication skills, and as such are definitely applicable to any form of science communication. At this point I’d like to share a few pieces of advice I picked up over the workshop. These aren’t necessarily key take-home messages from SAVVY, but they’re tidbits that really resonated with me.
1. When talking to the media, you are talking to the sofa people.
The sofa people being your average people who sit on the sofa in the evening and channel surf. The point is, that when talking about your science, you need to think about who your audience is and find a way to engage with them. It’s not actually the interviewer that you are speaking to – it’s the public who are going to watch that interview.
2. ‘Eliminate the latinate’ or ‘cut the crap’.
Avoid jargon. This one seems obvious, but what didn’t occur to me is that the ‘jargon’ is not necessarily just niche scientific terms, but can just be overly complicated language. The way we’re trained to communicate as scientists means that we regularly use a lot of ‘big words’ (eg. utilise, generate, parameters, propagate, phenomenon) when a simpler expression (eg. use, make, limits, spread, event) would do just as well, and probably make us sound a lot less pretentious.
3. Beware the tyranny of precision.
I work with conducting polymers. I hate referring to my polymers as ‘plastics’ when trying to explain my research to a non-science person… it’s just so imprecise! But sometimes you just have to sacrifice precision or your audience will tune out after three words because they don’t understand what you’re talking about. I know, it’s hard to do.
So that’s it from me. Many thanks go to MESA and to the Science Media Centre for giving me the opportunity to attend SAVVY. Thanks in particular to the workshop facilitators, Michael Brown, Peter Griffin and Dacia Herbulock, whose advice and feedback was invaluable. I would highly recommend SAVVY to anyone in working in science who ever talks to anyone outside their field. Which, apart from some reclusive mathematicians, is pretty much everyone.
The 8th MacDiarmid Student and Postdoc Symposium will be held at University of Canterbury 22-23 November 2012.
The theme this year is Mind the Gap – Future Proofing your Skillset.
Registration is open to all students and postdocs whose supervisor is a MacDiarmid Investigator whether funded or unfunded.
We will pay for one night’s accommodation and meals during the symposium. You will also get a MacDiarmid t-shirt!
All students and postdocs, who are not already presenting oral contributions, must present a poster. The poster should be A1 sized and clearly describe your research to your target audience. You may choose at least one of the following target audiences:
(a) Outreach for school kids aged 15-18 yrs old,
(b) Informing the media & public,
(c) Lobbying government and policy makers to make some change,
(d) Obtaining funding for a commercial enterprise.
The posters will be judged according to best presentation and prizes will be awarded at the end of conference.
To register please go to our website:
Registration closes Friday 9 November.