Everything you don´t learn in the lab

Society and science: Make an impact

Topic area
Science communication

Online or in-house workshop

2-3 webinars of 2-2.5 h each = 1 -1 1/2 workshop days

Philipp Gramlich

Target group
All (PhD students to professors)


In this workshop, we’ll work on how you, as a scientist, can make an impact on society and the public debate.
Scientists know a lot about their research topics, which are often of high societal relevance. Yet the public debates are often dominated by people with little understanding of science- or even contempt for the scientific approach altogether. Our voices are heard only very softly, partly due to scientific objectivity, a high value we absolutely need to retain. Does this mean that we can’t state an opinion at all? Are we not allowed to extrapolate our findings into statements about the pros and cons of specific policies? How can you be heard by people outside of the ivory tower? How can they understand? How can you make your message relevant to them?


In this course you´ll learn about:


Clear communication

  • Big picture and details: how to put both together in different settings?
  • How to find a storyline that’s relevant to your audience
  • Argumentation strategies adapted to the setting


The public debate

  • Phases of a public debate and how this influences your communication style
  • Analyse the interests of various stakeholders in a public debate
  • Effectively publicising your topic


The PhD stereotype 

  • Why no one listens to you if you sound too much like a scientist
  • Does scientific objectivity allow you to make clear statements?


Recruiting help

  • How to build a network of mutual support
  • How can you reach out to high-level people?

Course Flow Online Workshops


Live Webinar

  • PhD stereotype
  • Scientific storytelling


  • Individual and group course work (online and offline)
Day 2

Live Webinar

  • Phases of a public debate
  • Analyse settings and stakeholders


  • Individual and group course work (online and offline)
Day 3

Live Webinar

  • Recruit help
  • Scientific objectivity vs. impact and opinion
Weeks 2-3

Individual written or oral feedback from the instructor

What is the trainer’s background in this topic?

Together with Karin, Philipp set up the NGO turfvrij, with which they try to show that science communication can make a real-life impact. Turfvrij is fighting against the use of the fossil material peat in horticulture. They publicised the topic in newspapers, radio and tv, thereby triggering a successful motion in the Dutch parliament. This motion urges the agricultural minister to investigate a peat reduction strategy for the Netherlands, making it the 6th country worldwide with such a policy. Currently, turfvrij is the only NGO on the negotiation table working out the official reduction plan with various industry stakeholders.


Do you want to read more about the topic before enjoying the workshop?

In our career column No scientists please, we write about the situation in that scientists are not desired on certain discussion tables due to the way they communicate. 

If you´re interested in the details of the turfvrij story until now, then you can read about their progress here or follow their LinkedIn page


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