Alumni Services

Where We Are Now: working in Science Communication

From finding new ways of explaining centuries-old concepts to public engagement events and twin research, 3 graduates discuss the working world of Science Communication in India, Canada and the UK.


Name Jonathan Farrow Paz García Siddharth Kankaria
Degree Course MSc Science Communication and Public Engagement MSc Science Communication and Public Engagement MSc Science Communication and Public Engagement
Year of Graduation 2015 2017 2018

Jonathan Farrow is the Media Relations Specialist and Writer at CIFAR.

Paz García is the Engagement and Communications Manager in the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London.

Siddharth Kankaria is the Science Communication and Outreach Manager at the Simons Centre at The National Centre of Biological Sciences.

What does your job entail?

Jonathan: I am the main point of contact at CIFAR for journalists. I write press releases, pitch stories, arrange interviews, and answer enquiries. I also manage and write for the organisation’s social media accounts and write stories for the website. I will soon be moving to a Communications Officer position in the same team at CIFAR, where my responsibilities will be more about writing content, and less about traditional and social media.

Paz: In a nutshell, I work to promote the research that takes place in the department, and I keep our twins happy. My job currently encompasses communications, public engagement, participant engagement and ethics. This means that I write research news stories, manage our social media, conduct consultations with our Volunteer Advisory Panel (a group of twins who give us feedback on our research programme), send out newsletters to the twins, carry our public engagement events, write information materials about our studies, help to prepare and submit ethics applications for our research and many, many more activities. In addition, I line-manage one colleague who works to engage some of our elderly and frailer twins in our research.

Siddharth: My role is a dynamic and diverse one: I help with the organisation and planning of courses and workshops as well as organising public engagement talks, activities and events. I also manage the social media accounts (including their design and communication strategies), write coverage of events on campus and do scientific journalism about research on campus. I also conceptualise and develop various creative materials ranging from short videos, posters, presentations, and working with graphic designer to help create scientific illustrations for our communication outputs. Finally, I’m also involved in efforts on campus to help train people in areas of science communication, public speaking, scientific illustration and popular science communication. I have also been part of several national meetings and discussions for developing a policy framework for Indian science communication and have also been involved in raising awareness about science communication in Indian contexts.

What do you enjoy about your role?

Jonathan: I am particularly passionate about interviewing and writing about CIFAR’s community of over 400 researchers, who are at the tops of their fields in all areas of the social and physical sciences. Recent stories I have written include: a Q&A about quantum supremacy, a feature story about plant defences, and a profile of a researcher who uses robotics to improve vaccine discovery. I like the variety of the subject matter, as well as the variety of format and depth. On any given day I could be writing anything from two-sentence tweets on artificial intelligence to two thousand-word feature stories on economics, and if a fellow wins a big award (like a Nobel Prize, as happened this October) I may have to drop everything to call them for a quote.

Paz: The department is very active in carrying out and publishing cutting-edge research, so it certainly keeps me busy! I enjoy the variety of tasks and activities that my job entails, and the fact that it means I get to work with almost everyone in the department – the researchers, the clinic team, the data team, our admin team and of course, the twin participants themselves.

Siddharth: Given the high flux of intellectual activity on the NCBS campus, my job is quite rewarding as I get to work and interact with a wide array of scientists, but also peripherally with social scientists, writers, designers, artists, poets, and even thespians. I have a high degree of autonomy in the way I work on campus, and how I achieve my goals, and I’m encouraged to pursue my own academic interests in my spare time.