We work with researchers, and people in programs and organisations to help them plan and implement their communication through strategies that are informed by principles of risk communication.
To do this, we:
- facilitate planning workshops
- research the perceptions, concerns and communication needs of target groups and individuals, and
- work with organisations and groups to design clear messages.
Our research informs the practices we recommend, to ensure the most effective communication possible.
We focus on participatory communication activities that are designed to increase interactions between scientists, policy makers and different public target groups such as farmers, fishers, business people and communities.
Planning science communication strategies is a core part of our business and tips have been highlighted in our regular newsletters: Making your communication strategy practical, and It’s never too early to plan your communication.
Planning science communication
Econnect has been developing and delivering engagement and communication strategies for research agencies, natural resource managers, and government agencies for more than 24 years. We have also been responsible for implementing, monitoring and evaluating some of these strategies.
To develop strategies, we identify emerging issues, opportunities and risks to the program, communicate outputs, and engage stakeholders. The following table shows some recent examples of our information, awareness and engagement strategies.
Develop a communication plan
We developed a communication plan for Seqwater’s Water Policy and Research Unit, based on a desktop review, interviews and workshops.
Develop a Great Barrier Reef science communication implementation plan
We developed a plan for implementing science communication for the Great Barrier Reef for the Australian Queensland and national governments. The plan was based on an extensive desktop review, consultation and workshops.
Build capacity of Pacific Island states and territories to develop climate services and communication strategies
We held a 5-day workshop with climate services representatives from 14 Pacific Island countries to help them to write their own communication strategies, and to develop their communication skills. We then worked with each country representative to further develop their strategies.
We also ran a 5-day workshop in Vanuatu for climate-services staff and their stakeholders to further develop their communication strategy and produce some agreed products.
Implement and develop the visibility and outreach of the project
We worked with the OFMP2 Project Coordinator at FFA and surveyed stakeholders to understand their communication needs. We applied this understanding to develop and implement a visibility and outreach strategy for the project.
Develop an outreach and engagement strategy
Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) [Now Defence Science & Technology]
We reviewed activities, documents, policies and strategies, and interviewed 20 people from DSTO. We developed an outreach and engagement strategy that coordinated and added to their current activities.
Develop a communication strategy
We interviewed members of ACSA’s management committee and key stakeholders to devise a communication strategy to help this new organisation become better known.
Developing a communication and engagement strategy
We developed a communication strategy, website framework, name, logo and look for the Local Government of Queensland’s Coastal Hazard Adaptation Program, QCoast2100. The strategy was based on a desktop review of the best methods for communicating about coastal hazards, surveys with local council politicians and staff, and interviews with stakeholders.
Develop and implement an engagement strategy
Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division of the Secretariat of Pacific Community (SPC)
In liaison with management and staff, we developed and implemented a communication strategy over a three-year period.
Develop and implement communication & engagement strategies
Managing Climate Variability (MCV)
We worked from 2006 to 2016 with the national Managing Climate Variability R&D program to develop and implement communication and engagement strategies.
Outputs included developing the Climate Champion program and Climate Kelpie web portal.
As part of a joint project between MCV and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, in 2008 we conducted a desktop review, interviewed industry visionaries, and surveyed farmers and agricultural advisers about their needs for online seasonal forecast information. This has since influenced the bureau’s development of forecasting products for its Water and The Land website.
Econnect runs a workshop on planning science communication that includes a comprehensive booklet of guidelines and tips. The booklet is available for purchase on request as a PDF or printed copy.
Advising on strategy
Econnect regularly advises organisations on their engagement, communication, adoption and information strategies. This includes facilitating strategy workshops and personal consultations. Our Director, Jenni Metcalfe, advises as a board director to:
We also facilitate workshops where participants seek to strategically identify research or action priorities. For example, in 2015, Jenni facilitated regional workshops to priorities fruit-fly research for the Plant Biosecurity CRC. The client made an unsolicited comment that,
“the National Fruit Fly Advisory Committee today fully endorsed the NFFRDE Prioritisation Report. They were very impressed with the report and pass on their congratulations for the great work.”