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Television station needs young researchers to disseminate science

PhD students at Health are test subjects in the Danish Broadcasting Corporation's (DR) hunt for junior researchers with whom young listeners and readers in particular can identify.

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) offers a number of PhD students from Health a test interview with radio hosts from P3 or P1. Photo: Colourbox.
The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) offers a number of PhD students from Health a test interview with radio hosts from P3 or P1. Photo: Colourbox.

"How would you like to be one of DR's new young experts?" That was the question posed to Health's PhD students by science journalist at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Emilie Aagaard. She is looking for junior researchers who can disseminate science in a down-to-earth way on DR’s radio channel P3 and knowledge-focused website.

The invitation has now led to 78 responses from PhD students who were ready to meet the challenge and send a brief description of themselves and their research.

"We want to have a wide range of experts at DR that we can use as expert sources for our articles and programmes. Especially when we’re disseminating science to young adults, who can perhaps better identify with a younger researcher," says Emilie Aagaard.

Emilie Aagaard provides written, journalistic feedback on each of the submitted texts.

The idea is for the PhD student to use the journalistic feedback to improve their text on Pure, LinkedIn or in a research network, so that it will be easier for journalists, foundations or research colleagues to get hold of the right person.

"I'm looking forward to reading the submitted texts and giving the PhD students personal feedback," says Emilie Aagaard, who expects to send her comments to the PhD students during September.

DR inviting selected PhD students to a workshop

DR is inviting a number of PhD students from among those who submitted texts to a workshop to be held during the autumn in Aarhus. Here there will be a presentation on science journalism and the opportunity of a test interview with hosts from the two radio channels P1 and P3.

DR’s intention is not to replace the experienced researchers they use as experts with green PhD students, promises Emilie Aagaard:

"DR's scientific dissemination will not be laid on the shoulders of young PhD students alone. We’re also very happy to use professors, associate professors and postdocs. Rather, the goal is for the PhD students to appear more often when using them makes sense, so that we can reflect the diversity of research for our readers and listeners, and in this way kindle an interest in science, particularly among our younger readers and listeners."

Research must be disseminated

Head of Graduate School Helene Nørrelund believes that participating in the pilot project is very much in the interests of both the graduate school and the PhD students:

"Research must contribute to the development of society, and it can only do so if it is disseminated. So our PhD students shouldn’t ‘only’ be able to carry out research; they also need to make society more aware of science. DR has a large audience, and through this collaboration we hope to send the university's product – knowledge – out to a wider audience," says Helene Nørrelund. 

She also encourages the PhD students at Health to disseminate their research and get involved in debates where this makes sense.

"There are far too many alternative facts everywhere at the moment. As a university, we have an important task to provide a counterbalance."

Health is the first faculty where DR has begun searching for new sources of expertise among the PhD students. The plan is to expand DR's project to include other faculties and universities.

The deadline for submitting texts to Emilie Aagaard has already passed, and it is therefore no longer possible to submit texts.


Head of Graduate School Helene Nørrelund
Aarhus University, Graduate School Health
Mobile: +45 93 50 84 86
Mail: hwn@au.dk