Communicating Scientific Research 2017

Communicating Scientific Research is an intensive 2 weeks course taught by internationally leading experts, offered by the Simula School of Research and Innovation (SSRI). The course is open for PhD students at Simula. In addition to the Simula cohort, a number of seats are reserved for other PhD students enrolled at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo. 

External (non-Simula) applicants please apply by filling in this form.

In 2017 the course will take place April 24-28 and October 9-13 at Simula's premises in Fornebu, Norway.


The completed course is preapproved as a 5 ECTS special syllabus for the PhD program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo.

Content and Schedule

The course teaches you how to effectively communicate your research in scientific presentations, papers, and dissertations, as well as in less formal settings. It will help you addressing 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 April 24-28 and October 9-13. 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 two course weeks require your physical presence for all course days.

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, this national course at SSRI 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, which are written by Michael Alley, the principal instructor of this course. The presentation portion of the course also draws heavily on example scientific presentations given at Christine Haas will teach the spring section and Michael Alley will teach the fall section.

Graduate students from Pennsylvania State University will support the instruction during both weeks.

Here is the schedule for 2017.

Requirements and Expectations

  • When you sign up for the course, you are agreeing to participate for week 1 and week 2 of the course (see schedule for details).
  • You are expected to attend all lectures.
  • You are expected to complete and turn-in each of the preparation assignments for the course, as well as the summer project.
  • You are expected to give the assigned presentations, as well as participate in the writing critique sessions. 

In particular, PhD students who want to include the course in their degree syallabus (preapproved at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at University of Oslo, and possibly by individual application for approval at other institutions) must fulfil the above requirements.

About the lecturers

Michael Alley (fall section)

Penn State University

Over the past twenty years, he 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 around the world. Sites include:

  • 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 (Norway),
  • the Institute for Energy Technology (Norway),
  • Kaust (Saudia Arabia),
  • the European Space Agency (Chile),
  • the University of Barcelona,
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
  • Seoul National University,
  • the University of Oslo,
  • the University of Seville.

Alley is the founder and lead editor for the popular web-site “Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students,” which has a half-million visitors each year and is the first listing for the topic of engineering writing.  

Christine Haas (spring section)

Engineering Ambassador Network 

Christine Haas in a presentation

Christine Haas brings ten years of experience working in communication for engineering colleges. She previously held positions as Director of Marketing at Drexel University College of Engineering and Director of Operations at Worcester Polytechnic Institute Engineering. Now, as founder and CEO of Christine Haas Consulting, LLC, she continues to work with scientists and engineers to use best practices to effectively deliver their message, and has delivered training to clients in government, industry and education.

Christine is currently working with Penn State University to scale the award winning Engineering Ambassadors Program into the Engineering Ambassadors Network, which includes over 20 universities worldwide. Christine received her MBA in marketing and international business from Drexel University and her BA in English and film from Dickinson College.