Call for Applications Science Communication Training Programme for Female Scientists and Researchers

The Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) South African National Chapter and the British Council are requesting applications from early career female researchers and scientists for skills training on science communication and engagement.


This workshop is a component of the first phase of a programme of Professional Development for Female Scientists in South Africa as part of a joint project between the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the British Council Newton Fund (UK). The project aims to support Female Scientists and Researchers to develop their skills in science communication and engagement through a year-long training programme, beginning with a 3-day workshop with a master class UK trainer in science communication and engagement.

The Newton Fund is a bilateral initiative between the Department of Science and Technology South Africa and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (UK) and aims to support collaboration between South Africa and the United Kingdom and to support local socio-economic and development priorities. This programme also forms part of the activities of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) South African National Chapter. A select group of candidates from this programme will also participate in a science communication and engagement study tour to the UK.

The programme aims to meet the following National priorities:

  1. Promote science communication that will enhance science engagement in South Africa- Strategic Aim 3 of the Science Engagement Framework (DST, 2014)
  2. Contribute to social inclusivity by improving access, opportunity and success of women in science through a focus on female researchers and scientists
  3. A focus on women scientists and researchers from historically disadvantaged higher education institutions (HDIs)
  4. Improve the capacity of female scientists in providing science advice (science advice for policy makers and other decision makers)

Note that participants in this workshop will be expected to participate and be available for the year- long programme as outlined in the following section.

Programme overview

Call for applications from female scientists opens 19 February 2016
Applications close 2 March 2016
Selection of applicants 4 March 2016
Travel arrangements for Workshop in Sandton, Johannesburg 7 - 11 March 2016
Training Workshop: Science Communication and Engagement 16 - 18 March 2016
Applications for organisational grants for Training of Trainer workshops open April - May 2016
Implementation of National workshop ToT’s May - June 2016
Selection of 5 participants July 2016
Study tour to the UK September 2016

As this programme aims to have a wider impact and for the benefits of the programme to be cascaded to other female scientists and researchers, all participants of the training workshop will be expected to conduct a mini-workshop or seminar within their institutions or with other networks of female scientists/ researchers. There will be a limited number of small grants available to cover the costs of these seminars. Participants will also be expected to report on these cascading activities, and on the basis of these reports and a motivation from participants, 5 candidates will be selected to participate in a study tour to

Phase 1 Science Communication and Engagement Workshop

Workshop Objectives

  • Improve science communication capacity for women in science
  • Develop and nurture the culture of communicating science to the public
  • Enhance researcher’s capacity to profile South African science and science achievements domestically and in the UK

Workshop Key Themes

  • Presentation skills- basic and advanced skills
  • Media training- how to work with journalists in print and other media, incl. social media
  • Networking- how to translate their research into benefit and work strategically and internationally;
    - Advocacy- providing science advice to policy makers/ other decision makers
  • Networking and Research Management- how to support dialogue and knowledge exchange on research governance and strategic research policy development
       - Understanding Intellectual Property (IP)

Eligibility Criteria

This call is open to female researchers and scientists residing and working in South Africa. Applications meeting the following criteria will be prioritised:

  • Have a science background (natural and applied sciences, humanities, social sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics, health and medical sciences);
  • Be affiliated to institutions of higher learning, academies of science, government/ statutory/private research/advisory institutes;
  • Demonstrate an active role and or interest in the dissemination of research findings, information and opinions about science in different media platforms (TV, radio, social networks, blogs, digital media, newspapers and other forms of print media);
  • Be able to train other young scientists on what they have learnt and produce evidence of such;
  • Early career scientists and researchers should be 40 years old or younger and with at least a Master’s Degree (preferably PhD or studying toward a PhD) in their field of study;
  • This call is open for women only.

The following documents should be submitted electronically (via email) to

  • Brief biography (not more than 400 words);
  • A short Curriculum Vitae;
  • Short motivation letter (why do you want to be trained in Science Communication and why you should be selected)
  • Letter of reference from organisation/ research supervisor supporting the application

Successful applicants will be notified by the 7th of March 2016. All costs, including travel will be covered. For any queries regarding the workshop, please contact Ms Constance Manyeli or Ms Sthembile Zuma.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday the 02nd March 2016