Communicating Scientific Research 2019

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 mainly open for Ph.D. students at Simula, however, we have a total of 25 available openings for the course. This entails that we can also accept external applicants, so feel free to submit your application.

In 2019 the course will take place May 6-10 and October 7-11 at Simula's premises in Fornebu, Norway.

In order to apply for the course, please use this form and send it in before February 1st, 2019.


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

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 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 May 6-10 and October 7-11. 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 is 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.

The schedule for 2019 is available here.  

Requirements and Expectations

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

In particular, Ph.D. students who want to include the course in their degree syllabus (preapproved at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at University of Oslo, and possibly by individual application for approval at other institutions) must fulfill 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 website “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 over 10 years of experience working at the intersection of science and communication. Before launching Christine Haas Consulting, LLC in 2012, Christine held positions as the director of marketing for Drexel College of Engineering and director of operations for Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Engineering. 

Since founding Christine Haas Consulting, Christine has traveled around the world teaching courses to scientists, engineers, and technical professionals on presentations, slide design, writing, and storytelling. She has taught clients across industry, government, and higher education, including Stanford, Netflix, The North Face, Texas Instruments, Medtronic, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Sandia National Laboratory and Simula Research Laboratory. Christine received her MBA in marketing and international business from Drexel University, and her BA in English and film from Dickinson College.