Scientific dissemination and outreach
Publishing scientific articles is one of the most common ways for researchers to publicize the results of their research. These articles are presented in scientific journals that, both in their print and online versions, are aimed at a target audience essentially composed of other researchers from the same scientific and technological field. This is how researchers contribute to expanding humanity’s scientific knowledge.
Often, private companies or foundations and public entities that provide research grants require a disclosure of their donation to be made. This means that the beneficiary receiving the grant is obliged to make it known that they have received funding from a certain entity in order to carry out a research project with a concrete objective that is focused on addressing a scientific or technological challenge in specific fields such as human health, sustainability, or any other area.
In these cases, the dissemination activities are carried out through publications included on the websites of the beneficiary entities receiving the grant, through social networks, through publications on regular noticeboards, or in annual reports. The intent is to highlight who is donating, who is receiving, and for what purpose. It involves being transparent about public funds and private foundations.
These actions take place in different phases of a project. At the beginning, it is important to explain that a grant has been received and to give a description of the project that is being launched. Later, the results that have been achieved must be explained at the end of the period established for the execution of the project (which is not the same as the completion of the overall research project).
Both scientific dissemination and outreach are communications activities. Scientific articles currently constitute a type of written discourse with specific form and content conditions that make it possible to fulfil the final objective of communicating and disseminating the results of a scientific project to the scientific community. These publications form part of a researcher’s professional curriculum vitae and constitute an essential part of their research activity. As to outreach activities, their purpose is to give visibility through different types of communications media and they are aimed at a more general public in order to make scientific knowledge accessible to society and citizens.
We should not forget that a research project is an intensive, time-consuming affair that has a clear objective and established stages for the execution of a series of experimental tasks, the results of which must be interpreted and contextualized to extract relevant conclusions.
The challenges that scientific projects focus on involve real concerns that society, groups, and even specific individuals may have. Those of us who are dedicated to the world of research are aware of the great commitment we have towards society. Often we would like to have better answers and to be able to say that we are capable of providing end solutions, but the reality is that much work remains to be done from the moment an idea is planted in the minds of a research team to carry out a research project up to the time they obtain validated results that can be applied as the solution to the problem initially posed. Reporting that a grant has been received for a project is just one way of communicating to the public that we are beginning a long journey with great hopes, yet also with the difficulties and uncertainties inherent to scientific research.
Dr Núria Vallmitjana
Director of IQS Tech Transfer