STEMM Profile: Núria Saladié | UROP Manager | CSIRO Education and Outreach | CSIRO | Melbourne | VIC

“I was passionate about literature and languages but I also loved biology and environmental sciences. When it was time to think about … university … I searched for ways of bringing them together and finally it clicked: science communication. It worked!”

Núria Saladié is a science communicator with wide engagement and project management experience across European framework programs (FP7 and Horizon2020). Especially interested in the connections between science and society, Núria has worked as a science journalist and has organised numerous public engagement activities, such as public consultations, educational pilots and science cafes.

Currently based in Melbourne, Núria works as the UROP Manager at CSIRO Education and Outreach in the CSIRO. Prior to this, she was Engagement Manager at Biomedical Research Victoria (BioMedVic). Núria’s expertise includes communications to relevant stakeholders, social media, member engagement, and event organisation related to her key projects.

Núria holds a master’s degree in Science Communication and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Originally from Barcelona (Spain), she emigrated to Melbourne in 2017. In 2019, Núria was appointed to the Women in STEMM Australia (WiSAust) Board.

If you have transitioned careers, what was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?

Moving to Melbourne was a great life adventure, but professionally it meant that I lost all the networks I had carefully crafted during my first years of work in Barcelona. The biggest hurdle for me was to get to know the Melbourne landscape of organisations, understand who does what and get familiarised with the main names. When you grow up in a place, it comes naturally to know which university teaches what degrees, which hospital treats what conditions, and which lobby groups are more influential. Having to learn this whole cosmos from zero has been the biggest challenge for me… and of course I am still learning!

What are you most proud of in your STEMM career?

I am very proud to say that I have helped share and widespread research findings. I strongly believe in the importance of publicly-funded research, but the knowledge generated has to be brought back to those that funded it with their taxes. Plus, it has been proven that better informed societies enjoy healthier democracies, so knowledge shouldn’t stay in the lab or only make it out when published in an expensive journal. I am proud to have shared scientific knowledge with a wider part of our society, which means that I have contributed, in part, to the goal of improving our democratic quality.

How do you cope with self‐doubt? How do you cope with imposter syndrome?

I have become pretty good at recognising when I am starting to feel the imposter syndrome, so I tackle it as soon as possible by reminding myself that I am where I am because I deserve it, not because I tricked anybody! Whenever I self-doubt, I try to remember something cool I have done recently, like an article I wrote, a conference I organised, a problem I solved… anything that helps me remember that I am capable.

Since I discovered that the ‘imposter syndrome’ was a studied phenomenon (thanks to this TedTalk), I have shared the knowledge with many women. It is extremely healthy to speak openly about it and express how we feel, it is relieving to see that it is a normal feeling that affects many of us. However, we shouldn’t forget that it is a perverse reality and it can potentially hinder our careers, so let’s work together to get rid of it!

How can we strengthen ties across the different professional sectors within the STEMM ecosystem?

In Europe, this is being done with ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ (RRI). RRI is being fostered by the European Commission and many other institutions as a way to improve the quality of research by making it more inclusive and transdisciplinary. The word ‘Responsible’ means that research and innovation should ‘respond’ to what society needs, and to do so, it has to be inclusive with different stakeholders within the STEMM ecosystem (not only researchers but also teachers, citizens, politicians, industry representative, and more). If all these different voices are heard, research will be better equipped to respond to the needs of our society.

What inspired you to do science communication? Have you always liked STEMM?

By the end of high school, I was passionate about literature and languages but I also loved biology and environmental sciences. When it was time to think about a university degree, I was worried that by picking one field, I would be missing out on the other. So, I searched for ways of bringing them together and finally it clicked: science communication. It worked! After finishing a university degree in Journalism, I continued to a Master’s degree on Science Communication. Since then, I have been involved in different ways of communicating science, such as public engagement events in museums, science journalism in a newspaper, and internal science communication for specific audiences. It is an extremely rewarding job!

LinkedIn: Núria Saladié

Twitter: @Nuria_SE

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