Communicating Honeybush Science

by Marina Joubert


During 2019, researchers and students who participate in the DSI/ARC Honeybush Project, attended a series of science communication training events.

The series kicked off with an introduction to science communication on 13 June 2019. Dr Marina Joubert, a science communication expert at Stellenbosch University, presented a session on the rationale/importance of public science communication and engagement. All participants were given advice and tools on preparing a popular summary of their own research project for the project web site.

The second communication workshop was held on 29 August 2019 and focused on how to write a popular summary, news article or opinion piece based on a scientific journal article. Participants were invited to present their articles beforehand and these were used as practical examples during the workshop. The guest speaker/expert at this workshop was Wiida Basson, science communicator at the Faculty of Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

On 4 & 5 December 2019, five honeybush researchers attended the two-day science communication masterclass, presented by Jenni Metcalfe and Toss Gascoigne, two experts in the field from Australia. This included intensive sessions on how to plan and integrate science communication as part of research, and how to engage specific audiences more effectively. Recurring themes included the importance of distilling core messages, identifying key target groups and crafting compelling and relevant messages, keeping in mind that listening is one of the most important communication skills.

Doing media interviews, writing popular articles and drafting a communication strategy –
 these were some of the items on the training menu for honeybush researchers during 2019.