Thursday 20 June 2019

NIHR Newcastle BRC Trainees Spring Meeting 2019: Sammy Waite wins best Science Communication Video Award

The NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) has announced the winner of its 2019 competition for PhD students to produce the best science communication video

Sammy Waite has been announced as the winner of a competition held by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), which challenged PhD students to produce a short film explaining why they believe their research to be important.

Her winning video can be seen here.


The competition was part of the NIHR Newcastle BRC Trainees Spring Meeting 2019: ‘Presenting your research for maximum effectiveness’ – a bespoke training event for our students, which was held at the Biomedical Research Building. The session was run by Duncan Yellowlees, an expert in science communication and presentation. Students were trained on what they should be doing when communicating their work, including body language, vocal use and emotional projection. The session also explored different techniques and why they are effective in creating a positive emotional response in audiences.

Following the session, students were asked to apply the techniques and principles they had learnt to develop a two minute, digital elevator pitch on why their research is important.

The NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research (BRC) is committed to developing the academic research skills of our PhD students working in ageing and long term conditions. A key aspect of a successful research career is the ability to communicate effectively with a range of people and audiences, including fellow scientists, research funders, the media, patients and the public.

Sammy described the experience as follows:

As a BRC Trainee, the encouragement I receive to grow professionally is exceptional. This is partly due to all the training courses offered to us. The recent Science Communication Skills workshop run by Duncan Yellowlees taught us not only how to communicate our research effectively, but also how to be remembered. We were encouraged to think about presentations in a completely new way. He applied his own presentation methods to the delivery of his workshop, and he kept us fully absorbed for the 4 hours. Therefore, we left feeling confident that his methods for engaging an audience and communicating successfully really do work. I would recommend this course to anyone seeking training in this area.

Our PhD students are drawn from a range of backgrounds including; biomedical scientists, doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals. Sammy’s research spans the Newcastle BRC themes of Dementia and Neuromuscular Disease. Her project investigates Sarcopenia and Frailty in early dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB).

The award includes a contribution towards travel to a conference of Sammy’s choice.