Conference Add-ons

Separately bookable half day workshops: bid writing, story telling, crisis management 

  • $60 each for conference delegates
  • $100 each casual rate  (not attending conference)

Bid Writing Workshop with George Slim

Writing a successful funding bid is an exercise in science communication, not form filling. With success rates for many funds below 10% why waste time boring, confusing or worse, irritating your funding panel? Engage with them.

This workshop will look at how we can decide what the funder is after, why the system behaves the way it does, and how we can develop strategies so our proposal will show the funder that they can trust us with their money.

George has been involved in bid writing from one side or the other for more than the last 20 years and has a track record of success, and learning from failure, with MBIE (and legacy organizations) HRC, Marsden, international and commercial proposals.

He has worked across the system in academia, CRIs, government funding agencies and now the private sector. He has written proposals for his own research, developed government funding policy and most recently help a broad range of organizations and researchers develop bids. George has sat on numerous panels evaluating research proposals for government agencies, research organizations and private sector groups.

Writing a good proposal isn’t rocket science. It can be fun or at the very least helpful in setting your own research strategy.

Learn to stop worrying and love bid writing.

About the presenter

                        George Slim

                       George Slim

George obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Otago in 1986. After 6 years post-docing in the United Kingdom, at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory for Molecular Biology, he returned to New Zealand as a researcher at Industrial Research Ltd. There he wound up leading a large group working in bioactive natural products. Wanting to make further use of the commercialization skills developed at IRL he moved to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in 2002 and then in 2004 he moved further to the grey side with the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST) working on science funding policy.

Since 2010 George has been a consultant with Rhadegund Life Sciences ltd ( working with a broad range of clients to provide access to science knowledge, assist with funding sources and consulting on policy and strategy in the management of research and intellectual property.

Note: This Workshop is full.

Putting People Back into Science: A Science Storytelling Workshop with Elizabeth Connor

“Storytelling is as old as humanity itself. And in a modern world saturated with electronic media, nothing resonates quite so much as the personal narrative of a storyteller. In science, this narrative has a special role, because what we do so often seems mysterious to those outside our profession.  Story telling in science, whether of science valour or science beauty, provides a very human window into our world. Telling stories, simply and clearly, is the means by which we connect science with humanity.”

I learnt about the importance of storytelling in science from my mentor, the great scientist and storyteller Professor Sir Paul Callaghan (quoted above). Humans have been telling stories since the African grasslands and they are still the most effective way of conveying information and capturing an audience.

In essence storytelling is about creating a personal connection with your audience.  To achieve this you need to get through the jargon, bureaucracy and ‘official’ language to find out what people really care about – the authentic story.

For the past decade, storytelling has been at the heart of my science communication practice the key to the success of many projects. I have used storytelling to gain support and funding for supercomputing infrastructure in NZ, to draw together communities, to build trust around new initiatives such as STEM education, to connect science with industry, to engage new audiences through Magnificent Science Variety Shows and to train scientists to communicate their cutting edge research to any audience.

For the first time ever, in this new science storytelling workshop, I will share the techniques and insights I have gathered. We will start by examining the relationship between science and storytelling. Then through a series of practical exercises we will explore interview and storytelling techniques to uncover, craft and communicate authentic science stories.

Improve your ability to:

  • Captivate your audience
  • Generate support for new ideas, research or initiatives
  • Build team culture
  • Get funding
  • Uncover, craft and tell authentic science stories
  • Interview scientists
  • Find purpose, passion and inspiration

About the presenter

     Elizabeth Conner

    Elizabeth Conner

Elizabeth Connor is the inaugural winner of the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize and founder of the KinShip, an expanding community of professionals who work together to help scientists communicate and communities connect with the wonder of science.

 When Elizabeth was fourteen she had a dream of starting a renaissance that would start in Wellington, New Zealand and spread around the world reuniting science, spirituality and the arts and reconciling conflicts. Now, almost twenty years later, her plan is roughly the same.

 Over the last decade her projects have included training workshops and storytelling competitions for scientists, STEM education initiatives, podcasts, publications and Magnificent Science Variety shows combining science with dance, theatre and music.

Her clients include Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Council, The MacDiarmid Institute, The Rotary Club of Wellington, Victoria University, Science Communication Association New Zealand and The Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser.

She has a Masters in Science Communication from Imperial College in London and an Honours degree in Physics and Maths from Victoria University of Wellington.

Crisis communication workshop

Knowing how to manage a crisis has never been more important for SCANZ members. The Fonterra botulism scare and 1080 contamination threat are two recent examples of high profile incidents, not to mention weather and earthquake events.  

If the worst were to happen to you and your organisation, this workshop will give you invaluable tips to lift your game, and will cover how to:

  • Identify risks and potential crisis scenarios
  • Establish effective communication processes from the start
  • Actively involve important stakeholders
  • Allow for community input where needed
  • Create crisis plans that work
  • Prepare crisis resources
  • Practice your plan and rehearse roles

Workshop participants will test their skills in groups, preparing communications responses in a hypothetical crisis scenario.   

The workshop will be run by Brian Small and Simone Keough of BRG Ltd (

 Brian Small

Brian Small

Brian first became involved in crisis communications over 20 years ago. An early assignment was to advise a DHB whose sole pathologist had misdiagnosed 50 cancer patients; he then worked with the Department of Conservation after the Cave Creek disaster and was also a member of the Esso communication team after the Longford Gas explosion in Victoria, Australia. Since then he’s helped manage airline incidents, foot and mouth outbreak scares, food and other product recalls and major oil spills. In 2010 he was part of the Pike River disaster communications team, and in 2010 and 2011 was heavily involved in the Canterbury earthquake responses.  He has helped many organisations prepare and test crisis response plans. These have included ultra-high level lab facilities, major international events and iconic tourist destinations.  

 Simone Keough

Simone Keough

Simone’s crisis management experience began while working for the Canadian Government’s equivalent of our Environmental Protection Authority in the mid-90s. It included a 170,000 litre crude oil spill in a lucrative fishing area that was also home to thousands of seabirds.  Another incident was more of ‘a slow burner’.  NASA decided it would launch a military satellite whose solid rocket booster would land in the middle of a Canadian offshore oil field, peppered with oil platforms and of course rig workers. (If you come to the workshop, Simone will tell you what happened in the end). Since emigrating to New Zealand over a decade ago, she’s helped manage many incidents as well as prepare and test numerous crisis plans for various organisations.