Workshop 2 - Effective science communication

January 16– 18, 2019 in Gent/Leuven, Belgium


This second HYCOAT training week serves a dual purpose:

  1. Provide the HYCOAT ESRs with a hands-on introduction to in situ characterization techniques that can be used to monitor atomic and molecular layer deposition processes.
  2. Provide the HYCOAT ESRs with basic skills for effective science communication.


KULeuven - Arenberg Campus
Celestijnenlaan, Leuven, Belgium
(exact building / meeting room will be communicated during the hands-on part on Monday)


The workshop is organized as a part of theEuropean Training Network for Functional Hybrid Coatings byMolecular Layer Deposition (HYCOAT), and attendance is compulsory for all HYCOAT ESRs. If you would not be able to attend, then please notify the network coordinator.


Wednesday January 16th

How to design successful visuals for academic publishing

Many researchers get confused and sometimes even frustrated when it comes to image editing, resolution, pixels, colors, etc. This knowledge is essential to prepare high quality research figures. It is essential for effective communication and crucial knowledge for every scientist.

In the course ‘How to design successful visuals for academic publishing’ we will demystify many of the most common pitfalls and problems and give you some good practices that will avoid problems down the road. This course also includes a comprehensive overview of the ethics of image editing to assure scientific integrity at all times.


  1. Graphical abstracts
  2. Figures for publication (research, review, editorial)
  3. Hands-on and practical examples
  4. Grant applications 

Topics covered:

  1. Technical aspects of quality figures
  2. Introduction to basic concepts: resolution, pixels, color modes, bitmaps, vector graphics, etc.;
  3. How to read instructions to authors (figures only)
  4. Editing of scientific figures (do’s and don’ts to avoid questionable research)
  5. Introduction to the design process of a scientific figure
  6. Graphical design principles and how to apply them to scientific communication and visualization;
  7. Introduction in effective communication principles
  8. Visual storytelling and visual hierarchy
  9. Build color confidence
  10. Annotations, graphs and callouts
  11. Typeface
  12. Figures for papers: build from scratch with popular software
  13. Publication figures versus presentation figures
  14. Stand out of the crowd
  15. Importance & relevance of visual communication and the opportunity it offers
  16. Tips to visually advertise research. How to stand out of the crowd and sell your research.

Thursday January 17th

Presentation techniques and intro to scientific writing – Part 1

How to explain what you do: find key message & ‘so what’ factor

  1. Theory with examples
  2. Participants write own key message + so what factor
  3. Group feedback 
  4. Adequate presenting

4 good practices for good presentations: theory with examples

  1. Start attractively and structure clearly around your take home message
  2. Design attractive slides that do not compete with you as a speaker
  3. Practice how to stand, how to speak, and how to deal with stress
  4. Stay within the time limit


Individual presentation exercise with focus on body language and voice

  1. Brief destressing exercise
  2. Each participant presents own key message + so what factor
  3. Group feedback on standing, speaking, stress management
  4. Group work preparing a brief presentation with slides for day 2


Friday January 18th (half day)   

Presentation techniques and intro to scientific writing – Part 2

Groups present & give feedback on other groups using 4 good practices


By plane to Belgium:

The closest airport to Ghent is Brussels National Airport (BRU), a.k.a. Zaventem, 67 kilometers from Ghent. There are direct flights to all major European cities several times per day.

By train to Ghent:

The most convenient way to get from Brussels National Airport to Ghent is by train. The airport train station is located on level -1 of the terminal. The departure station is Brussels Airport-Zaventem (Brussel-Nat-Luchthaven in Dutch or Bruxelles-Nat.-Aéroport in French). The destination station is called Gent Sint-Pieters (or Gand St.-Pierre in French). Tickets can be bought in the train station for about 16 euros per person for a one-way ticket. There are 3 trains per hour to Ghent, 1 of which is a direct fast train (54 min), 1 of which is a slow direct train (1 h 22 min), and 1 of which requires a connection in Brussels-South (Brussel-Zuid in Dutch or Bruxelles-Midi in French) (about 1 h). See here for a detailed timetable.

On foot from the railway station:

It is a 20 minute walk from Gent Sint-Pieters station to Campus Sterre. Leave the station via the front, main exit. When you leave the station go to your right, follow the 'Prinses Clementinalaan'. At the second traffic lights turn right, go under the railway bridge and follow the 'Krijgslaan'. At the first traffic lights, turn left (following the tram tracks). Immediately to your right is the main entrance of the campus. From the entrance follow the signs to building S9.

By tram from the railway station:

Leave the station via the front, main exit and take tram 21 or 22 which go in the direction 'Zwijnaarde'. It will bring you to the main entrance of Campus Sterre in 5 minutes. Get off at the tram stop 'Krijgslaan' at the crossing near the main entrance of the campus. From the entrance follow the signs to building S9.

Accommodation suggestions

Near the railway station and Campus Sterre of Ghent University:
Hotel Astoria, Achilles Musschestraat 39, 9000 Gent
Hotel Orion, Krijgslaan 181, 9000 Gent


Prof. Christophe Detavernier
Phone: +32 9 264 43 54

Dr. Jolien Dendooven
Phone: +32 9 264 43 48

Dr. Mikko Nisula
Phone: +32 9 264 43 42