FRAME – Science writing training

FRAME – the Fund for Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments – advocate for and support research to find alternatives to animal testing in medical research.

When Catriona Sinclair – Head of Fundraising & Communications at FRAME – approached me, the charity had been through a period of change and growth. “As part of that, we have been developing the way we communicate as an organisation, including defining our audiences, what we want to speak to them about, and why,” Catriona says.

But the nature of the work they support involves technical details of scientific methods. Communicating this to the public and supporters was proving a challenge. “Our team is dedicated and knowledgeable, but we were struggling to write about the research we fund in a simple yet engaging way.”

To address this, we came up with a plan for me to provide some training and advice to their team on how to write about science for different audiences. I created a bespoke training programme, with three one-hour-long sessions, covering:

  • Science communication: why communicating science clearly is important, and different approaches you can take
  • Writing: an overview of the whole process – from a clear brief to first draft – and the different styles of writing needed.
  • Editing: shaping a rough first draft into effective content that’s ready to publish

We also devised a practical ‘pair writing’ exercise to help the team implement what they learnt, with a follow-up debrief session.

The feedback from participants was very positive; all respondents to the survey felt more confident about writing for FRAME. They felt having clear guidance on how to write to a brief, and edit their own writing, were particularly helpful.

Catriona said:

“We had a great time working with Richard to improve our skills in science communication. He created a bespoke training programme for us that helped guide the team through best practise in written science communication, and raise confidence in their own skills.”

It was a real pleasure working with FRAME. Their engagement with the course content, and the way they supported each other through the programme, was fantastic to see.