Tag: communication

Looking for funding for your research project? Turn to the public with crowdfunding!

crowdfundingIn this post, Hedda’s own Mari Elken examines the idea of “crowdfunding” and its potential for funding research projects. 

Opening up the Ivory Tower and involving the public in research processes is a process that has gained prominence in recent years, a while ago we also wrote about “crowdsourcing” – where communities or groups of people outside traditional research environments provide their skills for research processes. But how about using the general public to finance your research project through “crowdfunding“?

Crowdfunding as a phenomenon has emerged in the business circles as a means to fund start-ups, and. In the business sphere, crowdfunding is considered one of the key developments for funding startups. Recenrtly, Forbes commentary about the development was: “Trust me. It’s going to be big“, as various social network sites have also shown interest in integrating with crowdfunding platforms.

A number of these platforms in more creativity related areas have gained massive support and have been around for some years already. For instance, Kickstarter is a platform for funding filmmakers, musicians, artists and designers – and this platform alone has had 4,7 million people pledge over 768 million dollars for funding over 47 000 projects, with a success rate of 44% of the projects reaching their goals.

With such potential in the world of business and creative arts as a means to find alternative funding sources – why not use this new arena for funding research? Granted, research is arguably often more expensive than your average artsy project, and it is more difficult to the public to make informed judgments about the quality of projects. However, sites for crowdfunding of research projects are in fact emerging.

Forcing researchers out of the closet – higher education at a science fair

In the end of September, the annual Oslo Science Fair (Forskningstorget) was held, and this year the Faculty of Education was represneted by the research group that focuses on higher education (HEIK).

The idea of researchers as contained in the ivory tower (or ‘closet’ as some might put it) seems to have been crumbling for some time. The repeated calls for research to be more relevant for society, and more accessible both for the policymakers and industry but also for general public, are often voiced in various contexts.

One could argue that this openness and accessibility can also take place through various means. On the one hand there is the need to produce knowledge that has a more direct application value. However, while the use of public money for applied research is promoted in a number of countries, the thought has also attracted some debate (see for instance recent The Economist debate on the topic), since the industry rarely focuses on funding pure research. Another thought is that pure research should also be made more accessible and open – and the results of research endeavours should be accessible through open access, and that researchers should put more efforts into entering the public debate and disseminate the results of their work.

The Oslo Science Fair can be seen as an example of the latter. This is part of a yearly event called National Science Days that takes place all over the country in end of September, and the stated purpose of the event is to promote curiosity about research, inform the public of the role of research in everyday life, enhance media interest, promote recruitment to research careers, and highlight the relationship between research, industry and innovation. 

Science: It’s a girl thing! – can you do better?

A few weeks ago, on 21st of June the European Commission launched its new communication campaign to get more women to science, the campaign being promoted with a slogan “Science: It’s a girl thing!“.

With pictures of lipstick and activities promoting the launch of the event including a flashmob in front of the European Parliament this is supposed to be a new and fresh way to introduce how much fun science can be for girls. Arguably, the aim is to “challenge stereotypes on science and show young people, especially girls and young women, that science can be a great opportunity for their future”. Sadly enough, the campaign follows every stereotype of what it means to be a woman.

Thematic week: Communicating broadly – which social media channels?

Jarle V. Traavik (University of Oslo)

This entry is written by Jarle V. Traavik, who works as the head of finance at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Oslo and is a self proclaimed ‘social media guy’, managing social media at the faculty. Jarle is a UK Chartered Accountant and has over 20 years of experience in business and management with an interest on communication strategies. He has worked closely on a number of issues related to strategic planning at the faculty, in addition to participating to the university wide initiative “Task force on Social Media”. In this post, he reflects on portfolio challenges related to building up presence on social media. 

Social media is already an integral part of education. Not only is it a source of information in its own right, but it is also a reference mechanism, and a tool for facilitating learning. The “twitterverse” knows the news before it reaches mainstream media, many use social networks to seek advice or store links, and lecturers use these tools to query or advise students.

As a playground of choice for many prospective and existing students, social media is an ideal tool for communicating issues of interest in higher education. Journalists are also known to make use of Twitter for example, making it a potentially good channel to forward research findings to the wider community. Additionally, some staff also use social media actively for communicating with colleagues, and hint at social media as an alternative to e-mail or internal newsletters.

So the tools and the interest are there. We also know however, that resources at most education institutions are stretched. In many cases therefore schools or universities will need to maneuver for maximum output from minimum input.