Researchers’ Choice Communication Award 2018 – “Science is not finished until it’s communicated”

RCCA2018_151_RGBScience is the engine of prosperity and change. How do we ensure that it changes society for the best? As the UK government’s former Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir Mark Walport said, “science is not finished until it’s communicated.” Without scientists communicating their findings to a wider audience, the life-changing research they do would remain a mystery to society. And early career researchers are the key to unraveling this mystery and pushing for tomorrow’s progress.

Making science more open is at the center of it all. We’re talking about encouraging collaborations, but also breaking down barriers and reaching more people. Brilliant scientists are already leading the way. Take Mat Allen, for example. Day to day he is completing a Ph.D. at Cardiff University on Galaxy research, but online he becomes UKAstroNut, explaining to tens of thousands of YouTubers why we can see the moon during the day, and developing virtual and augmented reality apps, all designed to educate and inspire children about science.

Mat is the winner of the inaugural Researchers’ Choice Communication Award. Now, we’re on the hunt for this year’s winner. We know that alongside producing amazing life-changing research, researchers do a huge amount of behind the scenes communication outreach, to help put science at the forefront of the public mind. The Researchers’ Choice Communication Award is here to provide the recognition that these researchers deserve.

LinkedWe’re looking for early career researchers who are fantastic at communicating their scientific work to the public, going above and beyond the publication of their academic advances. To be eligible for the award they must be currently living in the UK, affiliated with a UK university, and have begun publishing no earlier than 2015. We want to see evidence of their amazing communications skills, demonstrating they have gone beyond the publication of their research papers and used any kind of public activity to help people make sense of complex scientific topics, or address misleading information about scientific or medical issues.

Nominating a researcher for the RCCA – How does it work?

  • Nominations open on Wednesday 28th March 2018
  • Post the nomination directly to the dedicated Mendeley group
  • Those new to Mendeley will either need to sign up for a free account or email nominations to ecrawards@kaizo.co.uk
  • You cannot nominate yourself
  • Include the following information as part of the nomination:
    • Name
    • Age
    • Institution
    • Summary of nomination (250 words max)
    • Links to evidence of good work (e.g. research, speeches, blog posts, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) Only content clearly listed as part of the nomination will be used for final review
  • Nominations will be accepted until Thursday 17th May 2018

The winner will be announced at this year’s Awards ceremony at the Royal Society in London on 4th October 2018.

If you have any questions relating to the Awards or the nomination process, feel free to post on the group and we’ll get back to you.

Let’s talk about science – Researchers’ Choice Award for science communication

Albert Einstein once famously claimed that “you don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Living this ethos, a new breed of fresh-faced, tech-savvy researchers are on a mission to break down the barriers and bring science to the masses.

Communication is forming a bigger part of the role of researchers, and for those in the early stages of their career, it can have a potentially huge influence on the trajectory of their career. Alongside the life-changing scientific research taking place every day, there’s also a lot of impressive communication effort in the background – how else would we know about it? And we think it’s about time these researchers get the recognition they deserve.

We’re looking for early career researchers who are brilliant at communicating their scientific ideas to the public. They must be currently living in the UK, affiliated with a UK university and have begun publishing no earlier than 2012. We want to see evidence that they have gone above and beyond the publication of their research paper, and used any kind of public activity to address misleading information about scientific or medial issues; bring sound evidence to bear in a public or policy debate or helped people to make sense of a rather complex scientific issue.

There are no restrictions on what or how – simply visit the dedicated Mendeley group and enter the researcher’s name, age, institute and the reason for the nomination, along with links to supporting evidence such as a blog, Twitter account or YouTube video.

We then encourage all nominees (and their nominators) to invite peers and colleagues to ‘like’ their nomination post – those posts with the most likes will make the shortlist, which will be put in front of our specially selected judging panel.

So, if you know someone who has the potential to be the next Brian Cox, why not give them the chance of receiving the recognition they deserve…and £1,500! Nominations are open until 30th September 2015, and the winner will be announced at this year’s Awards ceremony at the Royal Society in London on 5th November.

You can read more about the importance of science communication, and if you have any questions on the Awards or the nomination process, feel free to post on the group and we’ll get back to you.

Meet our December Advisor of the Month!

Congratulations and thank you to Andy Tattersall!

Andy TattersallAndy is an Information Specialist at The University of Sheffield and has a background in journalism and Information Management. He started using Mendeley in 2009 and became an Advisor in June 2010.

He created a series of videos called Minute Mendeley (it “sadly breaks trades descriptions as the videos are all about two minutes long,” he said) which are available on the University of Sheffield’s  iTunesU  profile.

How Mendeley influences his research

How it affected me was more about how I saw technology was changing, it was one of those tools that sold itself really easily. I loved the organic approach of it all from how it developed to react to user’s needs.

How Andy helps spread the word

In lots of ways, firstly about 4 years ago teaching clinicians research skills and then through formal teaching in various faculties, my own department at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), in the iSchool and our English Department. I’ve run several workshops for colleagues as well. Over the last 4 years I would say myself and my colleagues have taught well in excess of a 1000 students and staff and it has always been well-received.

I’ve written about it in blogs and also as an article for the MmIT journal titled: References, Collections, Corrections and Mendeley back in 2011.

How did you get into research?

I never really see myself as a researcher to be honest, I do research but it’s not really core to what I do. The research I am interested in is looking at information science and literacy and how technologies and people work together. I’m very interested in the Web and Social Media and how academics and students share and manage information as part of their own work. My degrees were both at the University of Sheffield, a BA in Journalism and an MSc in Information Management – I really think they dovetail together really nicely.

How long have you been on Mendeley?

I’ve been using Mendeley since early 2009 I think, I blogged about it here in October of that year.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

What little reference management I did do was with Reference Manager, something all of our students used. I realised that Mendeley serviced their needs far better, and the needs of some of my colleagues.

How does Mendeley influence your research?

How it affected me was more about how I saw technology was changing, it was one of those tools that sold itself really easily. I loved the organic approach of it all from how it developed to react to user’s needs.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

Because I saw it had real potential and that I wanted to be at the cusp of this technology change as I could it would benefit myself and the people I support – I wasn’t wrong.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Strangely I always read two books at a time – one for bed and one on my commute. The current ones are both quite depressing, my train one is, ‘Everything Now: Communication, Persuasion and Control: How the instant society is shaping what we think’ by Steve McKevitt and the bedside one is pretty grim, titled ‘One Soldier’s War in Chechnya’ by Arkady Babchenko. I know, cheery.

Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?

I spent six years as a pirate radio DJ.

What is the best part about being a researcher?

When I’m doing it, being able to explore and test ideas and in turn hopefully improve my own and others’ ways of working.

And the worse?

Just not having the time to do the above.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

That it will not only help you discover research but help others discover yours.

Mendeley Investor Sponsors Annual Science Academy Prizes

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Image: http://www.nyas.org

Leonard Blavatnik – the Ukrainian-born billionaire from Access Industries who was one of the biggest investors in Mendeley before the acquisition by Elsevier in April – is continuing the trend of investing in research by backing the New York Academy of Sciences’ annual prizes for young scientists.

Tamar Lewin reported in a recent New York Times article that the scheme is building on the success of a smaller program that was piloted in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut over the past seven years. It will now award three prizes of $250,000 each in the areas of Physical Sciences & Engineering, Chemistry and Life Sciences.

It might not seem such a large amount when compared with the Nobel prize (which is currently around $1 million) or the whopping $3 Million that each winner of the newly established Breakthrough Prizes received, yet these awards are targeted towards younger up-and-coming researchers (there is an age limit of 42) rather than those that are already leaders in their field.

The idea, according to Blavatnik is to make the prizes big enough to be interesting but not so large as to be scary. While there are many rewards and incentives for established and prominent scientists, there are fewer initiatives to encourage and support young researchers in a sustained and more systematic way. The aim is to use this incentive to help spur the next generation of scientific innovators. Mr Blavatnik is a philanthropist with a keen interest in scientific research, having funded  the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford to the tune of $114 million and also recently donating $50 million to Harvard and $10 million to Yale.

Past finalists and winners of the regional Blavatnik Awards talk about how they were pivotal for their careers: Elisa Oricchio, a Research Fellow of the Cancer Biology & Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says that the prize is a wonderful stimulus and confidence booster for young scientists and “identifies emerging scientific thought leaders and highlights their work to the broader scientific community.”

Nominations for the prize will come from around 300 leading medical centres and research universities and an advisory council of past winners, Nobel laureates and prominent scientists. The judging panel – made up of 60 distinguished scientists – will then select winners based on the impact, quality and novelty of their research. The first nominations will be accepted from September through December 2013, with winners being announced in September 2014.

“The long-term goal of the awards is to create a pipeline of scientific support in which established scientists choose the most outstanding young faculty-rank scientists, who then go on to mentor the next generation of would-be scientists and award winners,” said the president of the New York Academy of Sciences Ellis Rubinstein.

Do you think these prizes make a real difference towards advancing science and supporting researchers and their work? Mendeley and Elsevier are also looking at some interesting initiatives and awards to support early career researchers, so watch this space, and in the meantime let us know what you think!

 

Mendeley wins again at The Europas

 

There’s been some great news for Mendeley this week. For the second time in our 4-year history, we’ve won a major award at The Europas, considered the Oscars of the European Tech scene.

 

Mendeley’s founders Jan, Paul, and Victor, who started Mendeley in 2009 in London, were voted the “Best Startup Founders” by The Europas Judges. They were up against high-profile competition from the founders of DataHug, Hailo, Huddle, Mind Candy, Songkick, SoundCloud, TransferWise, Wonga, and Zoopla. Mendeley had already scooped up the “Best Social Innovation Which Benefits Society” award at The Europas in 2009.

 

“It’s both wonderful and humbling to have won the Best Startup Founders award, especially when nominated alongside some of the most inspiring tech entrepreneurs in Europe. To me, this award is really a recognition of the passionate, creative, and dedicated team we have assembled, and the work we have done together. Thanks also go to our 1,700 Mendeley Advisors and fantastic community of over 2 million users worldwide”, said Victor, our Co-founder and CEO.

 

We will continue to work on making science more open and collaborative on a global scale, beginning with the recent push towards moving our infrastructure to our Open API. Thank you for your support!