The Career Benefits of Becoming a Strong Science Communicator

On this week’s episode, I speak with Martin Zaumanis, Ph.D., a scientist-project manager at Empa, an interdisciplinary research institute in Zurich, Switzerland that conducts cutting-edge materials and technology research. 

In Martins’ research, he strives to bring sustainability to the core of road construction – studying asphalt recycling, the use of waste materials in road construction and application warm mix asphalt technologies. 

Martins has research experience in four countries. Since 2011, he has authored more than 50 publications. Martins believes implementation of new technologies also depends on their acceptance in society and in the industry, which has led him to communicate his findings actively through videos and at a TED conference. 

In 2016, Martins received the International Road Federation award for the best research project of the year. He’s a strong believer in knowing how to communicate your research, which, he says, can mean the difference between being invited to apply for a tenure track position and sending out CVs to random people on LinkedIn, for example.

Martins’ “Peer Recognized” book series holds practical advice for writing impactful research papers, delivering powerful academic presentations, attracting research funding and making your name known. 

Martins earned his Ph.D. at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in the U.S.

We discuss a range of topics related to Martins work, including:

  • How Martins first became interested in a scientific career
  • Whether he embraced the importance of being able to effectively engage general audiences early in his research career or did this realization happen later? How? 
  • How Martin prepared for his TEDx talk
  • Why none of the slides he used during his TEDx talk had graphs, tables, or data of any kind
  • How listeners can learn from Martin’s approach as they prepare to participate in  conferences – both as a featured speaker or panelists and also as a presenter during a poster session
  • Why, as he wrote in his new book “Scientific Presentation Skills”, effective presentations to the public and other general audiences can produce tangible benefits, including for your scientific career

Resources mentioned in the episode:

The Peer Recognized series of books: 

  1. Write an impactful research paper: A scientific writing technique that will shape your academic career
  2. Research Data Visualization and Scientific Graphics: for Papers, Presentations and Proposals
  3. Scientific Presentation Skills: How to Design Effective Research Posters and Deliver Powerful Academic Presentations

Five-S cheat sheet

The Five-S pyramid was created by a scientist for scientists. It will show anyone, even the most self-conscious researchers, how to master presentation skills, regardless of whether it is for a conference, workshop, or lecture. Click the link to get yours now.