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HSE Students Win Science Communications Case Competition

Students on the Integrated Communications Master’s programme won first place at the Case Lab: practical solutions for science communication problems contest. The competition was organised jointly by SPN Communications and the Russian Venture Company RVC as part of the Communications Laboratory project.

Advertising and Public Relations students from six top Russian universities competed against each other. They had to devise communications campaigns to solve real issues experienced by the press offices of Russian academic research institutes. 

Each team was given an individual case and their own industry mentor. The cases ranged in subject from computer programming to energy production. The HSE team (Kristina Abramova, Maria Dyaikina, Jana Erofeeva, Denis Krutykin and Anastasia Marchenkova) designed a communications strategy for long-term projects at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biomedical Problems. In 2017-2020 the Institute is planning to conduct a series of four isolated experiments with American and European colleagues at NASA, ESA, DLR and JAXA. ‘They research the most interesting things - humans and space,’ says Anastasia Marchenkova. ‘The isolated experiments should help us understand how humans cope in various situations in space.’ 

Our project ‘Space Pioneers’, explains Jana Erofeeva, ‘was the result of a three hour brainstorming session. Our team thought up a single communications platform, to describe the support mechanisms for each experiment. We proposed running several events in advance to popularise astronauts and explain the scientific experiments some of which are conducted on the ISS.’ 

One of the team curators, Valeriya Fedyashova (Head of PR Department, RCG) said the HSE students got ‘the most complex, biggest, most varied case: not just solving one tactical problem but developing a long-term communications strategy.’ This made the task particularly fascinating.

‘I’m very pleased that the HSE student team won,’ says Yulia Gryznova, Executive Director of the Russian Association for Public Relations,RASO, who was on the jury. ‘It’s a victory for the individual students but it also vindicates the teaching at the HSE Department of Integrated Communications. ‘Their teaching programme takes stock of contemporary trends and practical and theoretical achievements in communications and current PR professional standards and teaching formats.’

The competition organisers awarded the winning team a grant to realise their concept. 

What is the Communications Laboratory?

The RVC Communications Laboratory is an applied educational project intended to speed up the creation of a new class of specialist science communicators and facilitate connections between the chains of information ecosystems ‘science - education - media - the public’. The project is intended to help the scientific, education and media communities establish more efficient interaction, to learn to understand each other better and correspond to accepted standards in communications. .

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