Communicating Scientific Research course

Communicating Scientific Research course

An intensive scientific communication course designed to teach PhD candidates how to effectively communicate their research to a wide range of audiences using different types of media.

Key points

  • Intensive graduate course: one week in the autumn and one week in the spring
  • Focus: scientific presentations and writing, networking, and use of film
  • ECTS: pre-approved for a 5 ECTS special syllabus at the University of Oslo
  • Instructors: experienced and internationally renowned instructors
  • Applications: now open - apply by 25 August
Photo by Bård Gudim

Communicating Scientific Research (CSR) is an intensive, in-person course taught by internationally leading experts. CSR is hosted by Simula Academy, and takes place over one full week in the autumn semester and one full week in the spring semester.

While the course is mainly open for PhD candidates at Simula, any open spots for the course will be made available for external applicants studying at Norwegian universities; we welcome your application.

Timing for the 2024/25 course:

1st week: 7-11 October, 2024
2nd week: 31 March - 4 April, 2025

Between the course weeks (i.e., over the winter), the students work on individual projects.

Please note: the course requires individual preparations and online sessions before the start of each course week, and between these weeks the students work on their individual projects (see last year's syllabus here; the content will be the same this year).


The completed course is pre-approved as a 5 ECTS special syllabus for the PhD program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo. Participants associated with other PhD programs will be required to apply for their home institution's approval if they want to include it in their own PhD syllabus. Upon successful completion of the course (fulfilling the course requirements and expectations), the Simula Academy will provide the necessary documentation of participation and a description of the course contents.

Overview and syllabus

The course teaches you how to effectively communicate your research in scientific presentations, papers, posters and films. It will help you address a wide range of audiences, from peers to decision-makers and the general public. Students selected for participation must attend the two compulsory course weeks. In addition, there will be a preparation assignment before each course week and a small project to be conducted between the two weeks. The preparation assignments and the project will be worked on remotely, based on electronic communication with the instructors. The course require your in-person participation on all days of the course, for both weeks.

Designed for graduate students who have begun their research, the course combines lecture, discussion, critiquing workshops, and out-of-class assignments to give the students multiple opportunities to not only speak and write about their research but also to receive feedback on those efforts.

Based on a graduate course taught by Professor Michael Alley at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Virginia Tech, and Pennsylvania State University, the course is designed to help graduate students make their research communications more understandable, memorable, and persuasive. The course uses two textbooks, The Craft of Scientific Presentations and The Craft of Scientific Writing, both of which are authored by Michael Alley, one of the course instructors. These books will be provided for you at the beginning of class. The presentation portion of the course also draws heavily on example scientific presentations given at

You can find the last year's syllabus here (the content will be the same this year)


Apply here by 25 August.

The following attachments are required, in PDF form, with your application:

  • A letter of intent outlining your motivation for completing CSR
  • A simple letter of support from your academic supervisor


Successful candidates that confirm their attendance are required to participate in all lectures and complete all assignments for the course. In addition to the in-person instruction during 1st and 2nd intensive weeks (07-11 Oct 2024 & 31 Mar - 4 Apr 2025), this includes the online preparatory sessions ahead of each intensive week, as well as the writing and presentation assignments.


  • August 25, 2024: Application deadline which after the applications will be reviewed.
  • Early September: All applicants will be contacted with the final decision on their application.
  • September 6, 2024: Successful candidates will be asked to confirm their attendance to the entire course

About the instructors

Michael Alley

Associate Professor, College of Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
(email; website)

Over the past twenty years, Michael has taught scientific writing and presentations to science and engineering students at Penn State, the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin, and Virginia Tech. His professional communication workshops have been held for customers including Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, United Technologies, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, Simula Research Laboratory, Kaust (Saudi Arabia), the European Space Agency, the University of Barcelona, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Seoul National University, the University of Oslo, and Punjab University.

Michael Alley holds a MSc in electrical engineering and a MFA in writing and is a teaching professor of engineering communication at Penn State. He has authored three textbooks: The Craft of Scientific Presentations, The Craft of Editing, and The Craft of Scientific Writing.

Christine Haas

Principal, Christine Haas Consulting, LLC
(email; website)

With over 10-years of experience working at the intersection of science and communication, Christine has travelled around the world teaching courses to scientists and engineers on presentations, slide design, writing, and storytelling. She teaches clients across higher education, industry, and government including Stanford, Netflix, The North Face, Texas Instruments, Medtronic, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Sandia National Laboratory, and the European Southern Observatory (Chile).

Christine received her MBA in marketing and international business from Drexel University and her BA in English and film from Dickinson College.

Lauren Murphy

Cinematographer (email; website)

Lauren Murphy is a professional in the film and television industry, an engineer through schooling, and an advocate of sharing amazing ideas through better communication. For over five years, Lauren has used this unique combination of skills to travel the world and teach engineers and scientists to communicate their ideas through the creation of their own videos.

Lauren has a B.A. in film/video and B.S. mechanical engineering from Penn State University and works as a cinematographer in New York City. Her portfolio spans commercials, documentaries, narratives, and television, including the number one show on Discovery+, Ghost Adventures. She believes creative videos can tell stories to help communicate technical ideas in an educational and enjoyable way.

The Academy is Simula's hub for researcher training and continuous professional development at Simula. The aim of Simula Academy is to provide excellent training opportunities for all our employees to develop the skills they need to do their best work.