Scientists are not necessarily known to be great in communicating their ideas, projects and most importantly, results, to the broad public. Yet, it is extremely important to do that – not only to promote their own work and make it visible to the public – but also to make scientists think of the broad picture behind their tiny little processes they study, methods and aspects they look at. Many funders and organizations have recognized that – with the Volkswagen Foundation on the forefront in Germany in terms of innovative approaches and ideas.
The Isodrones SciComm (Science Communication) Project was born out of an urge do exactly that: to present and explain our research work to a broader audience and to thus increase the general public’s interest in science in general as well as our research in particular. How can we communicate our methods and results in an innovative way? How can we visualize and communicate a true, authentic image on how it is to be a scientist? How does work and private life of a scientist fit together? How can we involve people from science, but also from many other fields into in-depth research? To give you a tangible example: We are working a lot with UAV- or drone-based approaches, but our interest is mainly on how to obtain reliable and good data (e.g. leaf temperatures, multispectral indices, etc.). But how does this help a farmer, who knows his field much better than any scientist? We as scientists are sure that such methods are a give and take, but we do need to get in touch with those who are the end user of our products! And this simply cannot be via scientific publications! That is the concept and content level of the campaign.
At the same time, we aim to challenge the traditional portrayal of scientists in the media. Our research team is a group of young, ambitious professionals and we want to provide an authentic, personal insight into our lives. We intend to engage with our followers and build a community. We want to present science and scientists in an up to date manner. This is the style of the campaign.
One of our goals is to particularly stimulate the interest in natural sciences of our younger audience, to encourage students to think about a career in science. Apart from the general public and the young generation, we also aspire to develop new and innovative approaches in communicating our research methods and results to fellow scientists and a more sophisticated audience. These are the three main groups of our wide target audience.
Our multichannel social media campaign will help us reach our various target audience groups. Through facebook, instagram, youtube and twitter, we are able to interact and engage with our community. By producing videos and vlogs, we can portrait our lives as scientists first hand, communicating science in an entertaining and appealing way. During a professionally produced documentary video series, we plan to show the central part of our project: Our main field research site in Costa Rica. With the help of 360°/VR video technology as well as state of the art visualisations and animations, we aim to improve the way sophisticated science is communicated amongst peers. These are some of the various media types of the campaign.
And since our main objective after all is to research, do science and advance Isodrones, all of the above aspects are developed, crafted and produced with the support of a lively, highly engaged team of media professionals ranging from social media experts, writers, graphic designers, filmmakers, video editors and multimedia and communication experts. Our Creative Director for the entire SciComm Project is Christoph Nick from c-studios – media creation (http://c-studios.net). He ensures that the two-year campaign and all media are meeting professional standards to make it a joyful, beneficiary and successful endeavour for everybody – for us, for our partners and foremost: for our audience. Together with Christoph Nick we have an experienced team of social media and marketing experts on board: Irene Jiménez and Cristina de San Roman (‘Más Social’), who are working on our social media strategy. We are so happy to have again a collaboration with locals from Costa Rica in that regard. Our website www.isodrones.com will of course always be there to provide background information, regular blog posts, research outcomes and current project related information and activities such as conferences and workshops.
Check for ‘Isodrones Project’ on Instagram, Facebook and other social media and follow us from inside our brains to field sites around the world and see how fun science can be! 😉 Mati, Kathi, Malkin & Alberto