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Research Communication Training Program

We turn great researchers into great communicators.

Our Mission

Great research does not speak for itself. We equip our students with skills to tell the story behind their work.

Northwestern’s graduate programs stand at the forefront of their respective research fields. With so much groundbreaking research taking place here at Northwestern, it is increasingly important to convey the results of that research clearly and concisely to a broad variety of audiences–from expert to general. Not only are such communication skills a vital component of conveying one’s message, they require diligent practice in order to become second-nature. With this in mind, the Research Communication Training Program (RCTP)—formerly Ready Set Go (RSG)—was founded in 2012.

The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent research communicators and to coach graduate students and postdoctoral trainees to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important and basic components of communication: building confidence in all communication roles, enhancing the clarity of the message, and forming a connection with any audience.

Today I gave my first podium presentation for a professional meeting, and have gotten so many compliments about how good my presentation was and how I was able to communicate my work so well. I just want to thank RCTP for equipping me with the tools I need to succeed at things like this.”

RCTP Alum, Summer 2016

Course Information

The Summer 2022 session of RCTP will utilize the Science Communication Online Programme (SCOPE) that was designed by the co-founder and director of RCTP. SCOPE is divided into eight modules. Each module was developed by a science communication expert with input from a team of online-learning professionals. Each module contains videos recorded by RCTP’s Byron Stewart, reading assignments, discussion boards, and assignments to upload. The details of each module and its developer is below. The modules will open at the beginning of the week and students will have all week to complete it; each module will take approximately two hours to complete.

In addition, there will be eight Zoom meetings to check in on progress, offer feedback, and supplement the materials in SCOPE in order to best match the full RCTP curriculum. Kiki Zissimopoulos, RCTP instructional coordinator, will be available to answer questions throughout the online course, which will run on Canvas.

Students who actively participate in all course modules and complete all challenges and assignments will:

  • Increase their confidence and comfort in speaking about their research to people outside of their area of expertise.
  • Improve their ability to utilize visuals effectively to convey their message.
  • Learn to employ a variety of techniques to speak and write persuasively.
  • Develop their ability to adapt writing styles and content in an effort to improve communications with different audiences.
  • Earn a micro-badge in Science Communication to add to their LinkedIn profile.


Applications for Summer 2022 will open soon. Check back for the most up-to-date information about the next session.