Research Waves: A New Podcast for Future Research Leaders

by | Jan 19, 2022

Research Waves: A New Podcast for Future Research Leaders

Research Podcast

Podcast for PhD Research

Our future and emerging research leaders (aka research students) have far too few exclusive opportunities for research promotion. Research Waves, our proposed podcast, wants to change this. Are you in?

I’m sold on the idea. But are you? Whenever we fall in love with an idea—a research question, business idea, research approach or in this case a podcast—it’s important to validate the idea before investing time and energy.

So the point of today’s post is to provide an overview of what we’re proposing. And importantly, to gather your views on whether we should pursue it, or dump it.

Our vision for Research Waves

A ripple, with the right amplification, can turn into a wave. Our vision? The Research Waves podcast is a vibrant community of active listeners wanting to:

  • Discover new research talent.
  • Learn new insights; from neuroscience, museology to deep sea research and everything in between and beyond.
  • Listen to research communicated in evocative and highly accessible ways.
  • Inspire the next generation of research leaders, that is the next cohort of PhD students.
  • Amplify the research impact potential of emerging research leaders, that is, our current cohort of PhDs.

To increase engagement and podcast listening, we want to keep our shows short—20 minutes. If TED Talks can do it, so can a podcast. This way, our listeners can fit in our shows around their busy schedules. For instance, tuning in while doing the dishes, jogging around the block, in between classes, and so on.

But is our idea any good? To find out, we would love to hear from you. Read on and ask yourself: Would I tune in? Am I tempted to encourage a PhD student to feature on Research Waves? Do I want to listen, cheerlead and learn from others? Even better, do I fancy being a podcast guest?

Why take part in a podcast interview?

Making a guest appearance on our 20-minute podcast will offer many benefits. These include:

#1. Adding a high-quality impact piece to your digital profile

Establishing a research career isn’t easy. It’s hypercompetitive, to say the least. In today’s tough job market, even publishing highly cited high impact papers isn’t enough. Academics must also demonstrate research impact. Or at least the ability to do so.

According to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), impact involves “an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.”

To get started, awareness is the first step towards impact. However many put it off until they *have* to. Instead, it’s best to start early and get proactive.

And that’s the first reason why we want to start a new podcast. To give research students the chance to move beyond their social media accounts and blogs, to share their research, however tentative, more broadly.

And to do this, we need a high-quality show.

As podcasts feature in our upcoming online courses, we’ve already invested in what matters to make great content. Think Adobe Audition, good quality recording equipment, and a fully paid-up license to use music and sound effects. Importantly, because we won’t be in the same room, we’re subscribing to Riverside.fm to make sure everything—both audio and promotional video—is top-notch.

Photo by Jean Balzan from Pexels

#2. Increase your research/science communication skills

Communicating research is a tough hurdle to overcome. Many are susceptible to the ‘curse of knowledge‘. This human bias involves overestimating the familiarity of words researchers use on an everyday basis, unaware they are leaving others in the dark. Confusion reigns supreme!

Yet what’s the point of doing our research if no one understands what we’re attempting to get across? To create real impact, we need to get across our meaning in an engaging way. This does not mean ‘dumbing down’ our research. Instead, storytelling, metaphors and analogies work well.

As my PhD involved science communication, this is the type of support (more on this shortly) that I can provide. And once our guests have nailed their messages, in everyday terms, then this will carry over throughout their career. The next time a journalist, friend, or family member ask what your research is all about, you won’t have to worry. You’ve got this!

#3. Get heard across diverse audiences

Now, with the basics covered above, we need to make sure our podcast isn’t a ripple. Instead, it must create a wave of interest. Recall the above definition of research impact? It mentions two keywordsbeyond academia.

In other words, our podcast needs to amplify your voice beyond the usual suspects. Three things are a must.

First, we will work with you to identify relevant stakeholders and influencers with a genuine interest in your research. And then, importantly, engage them (e.g. via social media, email introductions).

Second, our podcast will be distributed via our Buzzsprout host across all the major podcast feeds, e.g. Spotify, Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Podcast Index, SoundCloud and more.

Third, we will post a transcription with each podcast. This gives your podcast what some call ‘SEO juice’. That’s because Google cannot listen; its crawlers only read. Once Google (and the other search engines) pick it up, then your podcast and research will be found. So when people search, e.g. for information on your research area, or a recruiter is checking you out (yep, this often happens), then up you’ll pop, in a positive light.

Now, with the above in mind, imagine your academic CV. You need a research impact section. But don’t just mention your podcast interview. Instead, you state its volume and spread using relevant metrics. And who knows where this will lead. Others could pick up on it and snowball other opportunities.

#4. Be supported

For many, this will be their first time being interviewed. And this can be nerve-wracking. But not with us.

Unlike a normal interview, we’ll heap on the support at the planning stage. Via a shared document, I’ll help you perfect your research communication. With the right support, you’ll then have the confidence to get across your message in an engaging way.

Second, you’ll be interviewed by myself, an experienced HE professional and digital publisher. Worried about stumbling or getting your words in a tangle? No worries. Retakes and smart editing is all we need!

Am I Eligible To be Featured?

Any dissertation student, particularly PhD candidates, are eligible for a guest appearance. In the early days, we are proactively approaching students via social media. But applications are welcome. Please don’t shy away. We know the imposter syndrome is rife, so ignore any self-doubt. Instead, if you meet the following criteria, then we would love to feature you.

Are you….?

  • Excited about your research and want to share it with a wider audience?
  • Aware of the importance of research impact, and want to gain experience?
  • Wanting to make your research more accessible and improve your communication skills?
  • Holding onto a good story? Confirmed results are not necessary (although helpful). Instead a compelling research question, a solid grip on your topic area, and importantly a strong rationale with your research (think potential impact!), then this is more than enough to entice the intellectual appetite of an audience.
  • Able to give a few hours of your time to plan, record and help amplify your featured podcast? (NB. we’ll do the heavy-lifting, but it makes sense you join in).
  • A member of our brand new community? As in, are you following us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter (see below)? We may be small now, but there is real power in a growing community.

I’m interested. How do I help you validate this podcast?

That’s simple. Simply comment below and/or on social media and let us know whether it’s a good idea. And please share on social media, as the more feedback we get, the clearer we’ll know whether we’ve got a winning idea on our hands. Thank you for your time 🙂

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