The Doctoral Schools of the five Flemish universities are launching a competition “Your thesis in a Twitter thread: #ThesisThread”. The aim is simple: contestants must set out their doctoral thesis, or a part thereof, in a thread of no more than 20 tweets on Twitter in an engaging and accessible way.
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It is an initiative by the Doctoral Schools of the five Flemish universities to promote the development of science communication skills amongst (nearly and recently graduated) PhD candidates.
The aim is to provide PhD candidates in the last year of their PhD projects and those who have defended their PhD within the last six months with the opportunity to broadcast their research, their methodologies and their findings to a broad audience in society. To this end, we are organising a competition in which PhD candidates can compete by submitting a thread of tweets highlighting their research and findings on Twitter. The challenge is to translate scientific findings into easily accessible, simple and engaging language, making use of the possibilities and handling the restrictions of the medium of Twitter. If you don’t use twitter yet, don’t worry, on the 20th of September (10am – 11.30am), Kristof D’hanens (I Like Media) will give an online workshop to teach you how to compose a good Twitter Thread, taking into account good copy, use of hashtags and emoji, links and media (click here to register for this workshop).
Three winners will be selected by a jury made up of representatives from each of the Flemish universities. The winners will each receive a voucher for €250.
The contest will run from the 15th of September till 15th of October.
The first tweet of the thread must contain the hashtag #ThesisThread. Once participants have published their thread, they must register and provide the link to their thread in order to enter the competition: Registration form
Threads published outside of this period or threads that have not been submitted through this website will not be considered.
Participants must comply with the following rules:
Once the threads of the participants have been received through the website provided, each university will receive a summary of all submissions from their institution.
Each participating university will then select three threads (in accordance with the evaluation criteria set out below) which will be submitted to the jury made up of representatives from each university for final judging. This shortlist will be announced in November. The winners will be announced in December.
The following evaluation criteria will be applied to submissions across all disciplines:
Failure to comply with the rules and instructions set out in this call, as well as the improper use or presentation of data will be considered cause for disqualification.
How should I go about making a good thread?
We recommend that you plan the structure of your thread carefully. Given the character restrictions, you should plan the content of each tweet to maximise its impact, including which features may help you highlight the point you are trying to make and/or make it stand out. Think about how the thread could be picked up by someone on their phone and who may scroll past one of the tweets in your thread (not necessarily the first one): does each tweet make a single point that can largely be understood independently from the others? How can you make sure each tweet stands out and grabs someone’s attention? What’s the interesting thing you are trying to expose in each tweet that could be enough to spark someone’s interest?
Will any distinctions be made between threads from different disciplines?
No. The aim of the contest is to promote science communication and as such the particular discipline to which your thread pertains is less important than your ability to present specialised scientific knowledge in a simple, engaging and accessible way to a broader audience of educated laymen.
Can I participate if I defended my thesis before the start of the contest?
Yes, as long as you defended no more than six months prior to the start of contest.
Can you incorporate “decorative” elements such as emoticons, gif’s , etc. or any other of Twitter’s functionalities in the thread?
Yes, but keep in mind that they should contribute to the overall aim of finding ways to communicate your specialist research and findings to a broader audience.
Can I cite or link to publications related to my research or my own publications?
While it is up to you to decide which information you want to include in your thread, you should take into account that a non-specialist audience is unlikely to be engaged by information in specialised journals, books or conference proceedings. Moreover, your thread should be self-contained and not rely on someone having read specialised publications in order to engage with what you are saying.