Engaging rural Australian communities in national science week helps increase visibility for women researchers

2016 Catch a Rising Star Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During a week-long celebration of science, run under the federally supported National Science Week umbrella, the Catch a Rising Star: women in Queensland research (CaRS) programme flew scientists who identify as women to nine regional and remote communities in the Australian State of Queensland. The aim of the project was twofold: first, to bring science to remote and regional communities in a large, economically diverse state; and second, to determine whether media and public engagement provides career advancement opportunities for women scientists. This paper focuses on the latter goal. The data show: (i) a substantial majority (greater than 80%) of researchers thought the training and experience provided by the programme would help develop her career as a research scientist in the future, (ii) the majority (65%) thought the programme would help relate her research to end users, industry partners or stakeholders in the future, and (iii) analytics can help create a compelling narrative around engagement metrics and help to quantify influence. During the week-long project, scientists reached 600 000 impressions on one social media platform (Twitter) using a program hashtag. The breadth and depth of the project outcomes indicate funding bodies and employers could use similar data as an informative source of metrics to support hiring and promotion decisions. Although this project focused on researchers who identify as women, the lessons learned are applicable to researchers representing a diverse range of backgrounds. Future surveys will help determine whether the CaRS programme provided long-term career advantages to participating scientists and communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170548
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume4
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

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