University of Dundee

Published viewpoint to educate fellow drug discovery scientists in Public Engagement.

02 Feb 2017

Communicating the work of scientists to the wider public through public engagement activities is becoming increasingly embedded within the academia. Drug discovery research faces particular challenges to outreach, as misconceptions and falsehoods abound, particularly on the web.

This exact issue was highlighted in a Viewpoint article ‘Communicating Our Science to Our Customers: The Vital Role of Passionate Public Advocacy’ published in December in ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. The authors noted in particular that scientists are comfortable communicating their work to their peers but when it comes to the wider public, this enthusiasm can waver and not take place. They urged researchers to engage, as it is these individuals who are “the real consumers of the work we produce.”

Rising to this challenge, Lesley-Anne Pearson and David Foley from the Drug Discovery Unit published a response detailing their well-known Drug Discovery Public Engagement Lecture, which has enthralled countless children and adults over the years. By sharing the details of the lecture, they hope fellow researchers in the drug discovery field can be encouraged and supported to engage with the general public. They also wanted to communicate to their peers, who may not typically engage in outreach that:

‘Public outreach is not a chore, but rather an opportunity to craft a truly meaningful interaction with those who have the most to gain from our work.’

To read the Viewpoint ‘Communicating Our Science to Our Customers: Drug Discovery in Five Simple Experiments’: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.7b00015 

Photo: "Me, me, me!" by Andrew Lim.

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