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Research Communication Week: Research Communication Skills Training for RPg Students

Date & Time:

February 11 – 13, 2020 


P6-03, Graduate House


Mr Simon Clews
Author of The New Academic (NewSouth Books) and international training specialist in written and oral communication and engagement

In view of the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus and unforeseeable circumstances, the captioned training workshop will be postponed. New dates will be announced in due course.

For enquiries, please contact KEO by email:


All RPg students are welcome to join the Research Communication Week in the week of February 10, 2020.  These training workshops are jointly organised by the Graduate School and Knowledge Exchange Office (KEO).  Whether you have already registered for the HKU Three Minutes Thesis (3MT) 2020 or are considering joining Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) 2020, don’t miss these opportunities to learn the skills to become an effective research communicator!  

Research Communication Week

Date: February 11 – 13, 2020
Time: 10am – 5pm
Venue: P6-03, Graduate House
Note: Participants are welcome to choose one, some or all of the sessions.

February 11, 2020 (Tuesday)Session 1: 10am – 1pm

So You Want to Start Writing? 

Getting going and the nuts and bolts of writing

You’ve got the ideas, you’re doing the research and now you want to start spreading the message. But how do you get started? This session looks at the basics of communicating your academic ideas to the rest of the world as a writer in non-specialist, commercial publications. We’ll look at how to write – literally where, when and how – what writing styles, practices and habits you need to develop, some of the more technical, grammatical aspects and even the ‘nasties’ like writer’s block (not that we really believe in this!). We’ll also examine the idea of ‘strip mining’ your research for great stories to tell and how to ‘sell’ those stories to the right publications. You’ll come out of this workshop with a whole new approach to your writing and a bit of a plan for where you need to go next. 

Session 2: 1 – 2pm

3MT Tryouts

Want to test out your Three Minute Thesis competition entry? Or just try out a few ideas and see what people think? This very informal session allows you to hone your 3MT presentation skills in a relaxed and informal setting. 

Session 3: 2 – 5pm

Making Your Words Count – Telling a Great Story

Communicating your ideas in ways that challenge, provoke, entertain and excite

Brilliant, cutting-edge research is one thing, but sometimes it’s only half the picture; now you also need to be able to communicate your results to the outside world in a way that is exciting, entertaining and accessible. This session focuses on both the writing and editing processes to take your writing to the next level and make it something that will grab and then keep your reader’s attention. We’ll look at bringing your ideas to life, adding characters, action, dialogue and stories and borrowing the techniques of books, plays and movies to make them exciting, compelling and convincing. 

February 12, 2020 (Wednesday)

Session 4: 10am – 1pm

The Words on the Screen – Effective Communication in the Digital Age

Riding the digital wave and getting your message across in the age of the Internet

For researchers, the catch cry of “Publish or perish!” is now history. These days, it’s all about “Be visible or vanish!” And visibility is now primarily digital. This session looks at establishing a digital footprint, using social media to its best advantage, blogging, pod- and VOD-casting, and fitting all this into your already overloaded schedule. It will look equally at creation and propagation as you work your digital presence to become an in demand ‘go to’ person in your field. 

Session 5: 1 – 2pm

Visualise Your Thesis Advice Session

Simon Clews has been in on the Visualise Your Thesis competition right from the start. Hear his advice on how to come up with a successful entry and bring along your suggestions, questions and ideas for an informal discussion. 

Session 6: 2 – 5pm

Stepping Out and Becoming an ‘Expert’

Being heard, exerting influence and making the world a better place for all of us 

There is so much background noise in this world - which is dominated by the 24-hour news cycle – that it is sometimes hard to be heard. This session will look at taking part in the ubiquitous public conversation and working with the media – print, electronic and social - in order to establish a public presence and get your message across effectively. We’ll look at feedback – both positive and negative - and how to handle it, and that fine line between establishing yourself as an independent public figure and being seen as part of a bigger institution with guidelines and rules on corporate communication and branding. 

February 13, 2020 (Thursday)

Session 7: 10am – 1pm

Thinking in Pictures

Bringing your research to life visually 

The world these days is very visual; the move from traditional print journalism to 24 hour screen-based news cycle has seen us become more visually literate than ever before. We’ve grown up with MTV and now live in the world of Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr, and of YouTube and Vimeo. And the Visualise Your Thesis competition is now nipping at the heels of the Three Minute Thesis competition. The future is definitely visual! This workshop will explore how to represent your research in still and moving pictures. 

Session 8: 1 – 2pm

3MT Tryouts

Want to test out your Three Minute Thesis competition entry? Or just try out a few ideas and see what people think? This very informal session allows you to hone your 3MT presentation skills in a relaxed and informal setting. 

Session 9: 2 – 5pm

The New Academic

An insight into the era of the engaged researcher

Simon Clews has spent the last fifteen years encouraging, motivating and training academics to share their ideas with the outside world – to become, as he calls it a ‘New Academic.’ In September of this year you can pick up his book, appropriately titled ‘The New Academic,’ on this very topic. In this session he will outline the process he believes every researcher should follow to become engaged with the rest of the world; to become Academic v 2.0. 

About the Speaker:

Simon Clews is an Honorary Senior Fellow with the Doherty Department at the University of Melbourne. Prior to that he spent fifteen years as the Director of the Melbourne Engagement Lab, also at the University of Melbourne.  He tours the world working with authors to improve their writing and with postgraduate students, early career researchers and academic staff to help them transform their research into writing for non-specialist audiences. He is also one of the world’s most experienced literary events producer and started his professional life in theatre, film and television. 

Simon has been heavily involved in the Three Minute Thesis competition since its inception, judging every heat, semi and final at the University of Melbourne, and various levels of the competition at the University of Western Australia, the University of Queensland and UBC, Vancouver. He has conducted 3MT training sessions at the University of Melbourne, UBC, the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island, the University of Queensland, Hong Kong University and Thaksin University in Thailand. He was also one of the instigators of the Visualize Your Thesis competition.

About 3MT:

The 3MT was developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia in 2008.  This is an academic competition that challenges RPg students to explain their research within 3 minutes to a general audience.  It encourages skills development in communicating the importance of research to the broader community.  The HKU 3MT Competition is jointly organised by the Graduate School KEO every year.  The highest ranking PhD candidate may be given the opportunity to represent HKU in a regional/international 3MT competition.  For further details, please visit the 3MT website:

About VYT:

The HKU VYT was officially launched by KEO, with support from Graduate School, in 2019.  Registration for the HKU VYT 2020 will open in April 2020.  Details will be announced in due course.  For more information about the competition rules, judging criteria, technical instructions, and the submissions in the HKU VYT 2019, please visit the HKU VYT website at

For enquiries, please contact KEO by email:

Graduate School
Knowledge Exchange Office

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