Application for funding for Stellenbosch University’s

“Science Communication: An introduction to theory, best practice and practical skills.”

The applications are now closed and applicants will be informed of the outcome in due course.


The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), a business unit of the National Research Foundation, promotes the development of science communication skills in scientists. One of its initiatives is the Young Science Communicators competition, which runs every two years and aims to encourage young scientists under the age of 35 to develop communication skills and communicate their work through various modes of communication.

To further support the development of science communication skills, SAASTA will be paying the registration fees of up to ten participants of the most recent round of the Young Science Communication competition in 2016 to attend the online science communication course run by Stellenbosch University.

About The Course

Stellenbosch University (South Africa) is once again offering its popular online short course in science communication. This year, the course will be presented over a period of six weeks from 6 August to 17 September 2018, followed by a practical assignment.

This course offers a flexible study opportunity for people who are interested to advance their knowledge, skills and networks in the field of public science communication and engagement. It is primarily aimed at communicators or managers at the interface between research and public/policy audiences, as well as scientists who are interested in exploring new, evidence-based approaches to communicating their research.

The course explores the histories and futures of science communication as a field of practice and research, including the challenging of creating effective and meaningful linkages between practitioners and scholars. The content and interactive discussions are designed to encourage critical reflection on best practice in terms of ethical and responsible science communication. In addition to learning from global trends and leading scholars in the field of science communication, the course content emphasises science engagement challenges in the developing world. 

The course content is divided into the following six themes:

  • An introduction to science communication theory
  • Science communication role players and platforms
  • Science and (new) media
  • Communicating about health, the environment and risk
  • Science, pseudoscience and quackery
  • Practical skills and creative approaches in sharing science

This course is presented by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), the home of a DST-NRF Research Chair in Science Communication, in partnership with the Centre for Science and Technology Mass Communication (CENSCOM) at the Department of Journalism. Both centres are at Stellenbosch University.

Dr Marina Joubert is the lead designer and presenter. She is joined by a number of colleagues and partners who will take the lead in specific modules, namely Dr Bankole Falade, Professor George Claassen and Dr Lars Guenther. The voices and views of global leaders in the field of science communication are included via video lectures and online conversations.

Successful participation will require six to eight hours per week. Participants should plan to spend at least another 10 – 15 hours on the final practical assignment.

Eligible applicants

Participants in the Young Science Communicators competition in 2016 will be eligible to apply. Applicants must reside in South Africa, have access to internet and be able to complete the 6 week course. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the entry to the course –a recognised university bachelor’s (or higher) degree or relevant tertiary diploma.

Obligations of participants

The participants will be required to produce the following:

  •      Copy of certificate of completion of course
  •      Copy of final project submitted in course
  •      Write two articles for the SAASTA-produced newsletter or similar platform, or produce two pieces using other communication modes (audio/video/etc.). Topics and communication piece will be agreed between participant and SAASTA.
  •      Attend two SAASTA-organised events or media-related initiatives as speakers/role-models/mentors, as appropriate, (any travel costs will be covered by SAASTA).
  •      Failure to complete the course will require the participants to refund the registration fees to SAASTA.

Application and Selection Process

  • The application should be submitted via the online system.
  • A motivation for selection is required. Participants will be selected based on location and affiliation, experience in science communication, and motivation.
  • The deadline for application will be 1 June 2018.
  • Applications are invited from all participants in the 2016 Young Science Communicators competition.

They will be informed of the outcome by 19 June 2018.

For more Enquiries

Joanne Riley

+27 (0)12 392 9349