Science communication is a critical role for scientists and scientific organisations when engaging with the public, clients, and other stakeholders. In a highly competitive, and fiscally difficult, environment for government-funded scientific services, effective communication is essential for articulating the value of the work, and for evidence-based decision making. However, a setting where classified and sensitive information is widespread, and communication has historically been undervalued or even discouraged, presents a number of hurdles to the science communicator.
Here we explore science communication from the working scientist’s perspective within the Department of Defence, specifically in the Defence Science and Technology Group. Science is seen (and communicated) differently in Defence, sometimes with conflicting drivers and goals to other kinds of publicly-funded research.
We will cover some of the unique challenges faced when communicating science in this often restrictive environment, and present strategies to improve outreach and communication activities within the prescribed policy and security framework.