Biomechanics researchers win communication grant

Five researchers at Biomechanics (Faculty 3mE) have won a science communication grant from the KNAW. They plan to use the EUR 10,000 to show PhD students and tenure trackers the way in science communication.

Dr Eline van der Kruk, one of the applicants, believes that science communication is very important in dispelling false information. She herself thought that mechanical engineering had to do with factories, roller coasters and large machines and she thus went for Industrial Design and Engineering. After a year, when she understood that biomechanics also fell under mechanical engineering, she switched. “I think it's very important to show that developing medical equipment, calculating sports movements and designing innovative bone implants are also part of mechanical engineering.”

Yet departments rarely put much effort into science communication. Talking to the press or giving public lectures is not considered as working time. Despite efforts by scientific financier NWO to change this, communications work is valued less highly than writing publications. And if your work attracts media attention, you run the risk of receiving unfounded criticism from the Twitterati.

However, as it is stimulating to bring your research to a wider audience, Van der Kruk and her colleagues want to help other researchers do this. They are using their grant to set up a sounding board group where PhD students and tenure trackers can ask questions and get tips.