Introducing the Mindwise Science Communication Workshops

“So, what do you actually do in your PhD?” Casual questions like this can be surprisingly hard to answer for PhD students. This is because we are trained to write for scientific journals and give conference talks, not to explain our ideas at family reunions or over drinks and loud music. But they are good questions to ask and to be able to answer. Communicating our research ideas to a non-scientific audience can be a challenge. Our goal at the Mindwise PhD Board is to help PhD and master’s students in Psychology to develop the confidence and skills to reach an audience that is broader than our office mates and peer reviewers.

The Mindwise PhD board is made up of PhD students from across all research groups at the Heymans Institute. We develop and deliver workshops on science communication to help you reach a wider audience with your ideas. As PhD students, we know how important it is that the workshops provided by Mindwise engage, inspire, and provide tools that can be used outside of the workshop context. This is why our workshops will always be:

  • As a PhD or a master’s student, there are a lot of demands on your time. For this reason, it is important to us that you come away with something valuable. We want to make sure that you leave any Mindwise workshop series with a tangible result, such as finished draft for a blogpost (or whatever else you decide to create).
  • We don’t want these workshops to be lectures. Each workshop only has a short introduction to the session before you start using the practical skills you have learned. It is important to us that you spend less time listening and more time doing.
  • Completing a graduate degree requires a lot of different skills. It is important to us that our workshops not only help you with the topic at hand but that they also provide you with skills and techniques that will help you more broadly in your academic career. So, while you are learning how to write a blogpost, you might also develop the free-writing skills that will help you to write your next paper.
  • We want these workshops to be relaxed and friendly. It’s not only about work and productivity. These workshops series should also be spaces where you can socialise with other researchers at the university and make connections with people you might not otherwise meet. For this reason, we will always try our best to put workshops in a cosy environment with opportunities for drinks, snacks, and socialising.


Last spring we ran our first workshop series, which focused on blog post writing. The workshop series consisted of five sessions of two hours, which each covered a different skill useful for writing engaging blogposts, such as free writing, storytelling, and using a conversational writing style. After the success of our first series, we are already beginning to plan another workshop series on blog post writing, which will take place in the Spring of 2020. We hope that the blogposts written during the workshop series will be published on the Mindwise blog, which will begin to spread great ideas from our offices to the outside world.

If you want to be part of our next blog writing workshop series (or just interested in what we do as the Mindwise PhD board), send us a message at


Elliot Sharpe is a PhD in the Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen. He studied English Literature at the University of Exeter before pursuing his interest in human behaviour change during his Masters in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. In his research, he focuses on the conditions under which people act sustainably and how it may influence their wellbeing. He is a member of the Mindwise PhD board.

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