Science writing and communication

When complex scientific issues become easy to understand

Communication in Science is a specialised agency with the in-house capability to analyse, write up and communicate effective and timely information on scientific and technical topics, including energy, transportation, health and the environment. Our team consists entirely of science graduates in physics, statistics, biology and public health, all with over 15 years of experience in science communication.

In close collaboration with our clients, we can help analyse complex statistical data in order to prioritise results in terms of potential value and impact. We are then able to create carefully crafted stories, reports, press releases, illustrations and interactive web sites.

In our work, content and form are developed at the same time, with the nature of the target audience already firmly in mind. Texts and illustrations evolve together, to ensure that the underlying message remains strong.

From research to infographics

Expressing a large amount of information in a single illustration requires a deep inderstanding of the topic, a synthetic vision and a sense for the spatial organisation of graphical elements. We do not use standard databank images – we produce original illustrations tailored to the objectives of each client. We deliver our illustrations in various graphical formats, to ensure their quality in print (CMYK) as well as on screen (RVB).

Infographics showing the production technique of the experimental VSV-Ebola vaccine and its associated vaccination protocol (illustration for Geneva University Hospitals, 2015).

From peer-reviewed article to press release

To reach its intended audience, a message with scientific content must in a certain sense be translated and then delivered in a digestible form. The art of science communication requires us to be fluent in the language of scientists and in the language of the target audience (ranging from key decision makers to the lay public). Of course, no vital information must be lost in the translation process, although non-necessary information does need to be cut out. In this context, the press release is an interesting challenge, because of its limited length and the lack of control over how the medias and social networks will report it.

Blue Planet ESA press release

From cutting-edge knowledge to synthesis

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, climate change, micro-pollutants in water supplies, the energy transition, or indeed the epidemiological transition… These are just some of the topics that sit firmly on the global agenda. At key junctures, everybody – the general public, the media, decision makers – needs a clear synthesis of the often over-abundant information on these complex matters. Depending on the target audience and the topic, this synthesis can fit in a few sentences, or take the form of a long report, with attractive and informative illustrations always being a key component.
>Antimicrobial Resistance • text and illustrations for a website on antibiotic resistance for bioMérieux.
>National Vaccination Strategy – Short versionleaflet and pdf for the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
>Le bon chauffage au bon endroit(in French) Best practices for heating your home – leaflet and pdf on house heating, designed to distinguish it from advertisements.
>CO2 und KlimaRéchauffement climatique • (in German and French) Climate change – an animated Internet page summarizing the main expected consequences in the world.

From technical diagram to animated web page

Technical illustrations are not for old-fashioned textbooks. They remain essential to understand how complex systems work. To make them easier to understand, some of the elements can be animated.

Fonctionnement d'un capteur solaire thermique pour la production d'eau chaude sanitaire et le chauffage
How a solar thermal collector produces hot water for tap water and heating. Left: when the Sun shines, there is enough energy and the boiler is off. Right: when clouds screen the Sun, the boiler must turn on to compensate for the missing heat.

From key message to symbolic image

A picture can replace ten thousand words! Issues about public health or the environment can often be summed up using a couple of key images, which will inspire and help the public to understand.

4 verres d'eau montrant la problématique des micropolluants
Many of our daily activities send pollutants into water supplies. We created these pictures to raise awareness about the issue of micro-pollutants in drinking water – to help people understand that what goes down the sink or the WC may come back through the tap…