By Anna Perman, Communities Manager

Science communicators love to talk. We really do. We love an argument, and like any group, the same old gripes and rants seem to come up over and over again. Just ask anyone who subscribes to the PSCI-Com mailing list about unpaid internships, they’ll back me up on this.

However, I sometimes find it frustrating that given how much time, energy and chatter we spend on these same old subjects, we don’t seem to come up with much in the way of action.

So I’m really excited about seeing what our Science Communication Conference delegates come up with in our new Challenge sessions on Friday 19 June. We’ve taken five topics we’ve seen recurring over the years of the Conference, and in groups, our delegates will come up with concrete actions for the community to help solve them. We’ll tackle: hype in science media; diversity in science role models; Science for All – 5 years on; citizen science, and putting science communication on the agenda of our newly elected politicians.

The challenge sessions are completely new territory for us, so we trialled the format here in the BSA office, to talk about what we should be doing to have a bigger impact on the work of politicians and Parliament. We’re a pretty eclectic science communication office, so we had people with interests in STEM education, policy, PR, citizen science, museums and Festivals taking part.

We guided participants towards forming concrete actions they can take over the course of the next Parliament, to make science a major issue in the next election. Who else is responsible for making this happen, and how do science communicators reach them? Who has ownership of this?

We found the Challenges were a great opportunity to take a hot topic and propose new and dynamic ways to tackle the problem. We all really enjoyed discussing how the science communication community and constituents could work towards this goal, and identified key organisations that we could collaborate with, and proposed ideas for campaigns and strategies.

We’ve been pretty ambitious in the problems we’ve chosen to address, and so we’ve accepted that we’re not going to solve them in just two hours in a room at Manchester Metropolitan University. The idea is to galvanise action from Conference delegates and the community as a whole, and come back in 2016 knowing we’ve made some important steps forward.

Want to be part of the action? Book your place at the Science Communication Conference.