Science CommunicationNature Marsilius Visiting Professorship

The visiting professorship for science communication, established in the winter term 2018/2019, is a joint initiative of the Veranstaltungsforum of Holtzbrinck Berlin, the Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTS) and Ruperto Carola.

With KTS funding, experts are invited to impart in a specialised programme what constitutes high-quality reporting on scientific work and findings. At the same time, they are encouraged to initiate a broad-based discussion on new forms of exchange between science and the public.

With the establishment of the professorship, the three partners hope to sharpen awareness of the growing importance of good science communication. The visiting professorship is intended to aid society in shaping the future through science in the face of increasingly complex research.

Springer Nature Visiting Professorship, signing the contract

A champion of excellent science communication and quality journalism is usually appointed as a guest professor each semester. Along with the furtherance these aims, young researchers are also trained to better communicate their research and findings to the public. The Nature Marsilius Visiting Professorship is located at the Marsilius Kolleg of Ruperto Carola, which serves as a bridge between the scientific cultures in Heidelberg.


Seventh Nature Marsilius Visiting Professorship: Martin Enserink

Martin Enserink is a Deputy News Editor at Science magazine. He became a journalist after obtaining a master’s degree in biology from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and joined Science in 1999, working initially at the magazine’s Washington D.C. headquarters and later as a correspondent and news editor from Paris. He is now based in Amsterdam.

Martin has reported stories around the world, focusing on global health, infectious diseases, research ethics, misconduct, research funding, and scientific publishing. He also mentored four African science journalists for 2.5 years as part of SjCOOP, a training program run by the World Federation of Science Journalists, and wrote an online training course, Covering Ebola, together with Helen Branswell. In 2022, he contributed a chapter about writing narrative stories from far-flung places to A Tactical Guide to Science Journalism.

Portrait: Martin Enserink


The 7th Nature Marsilius Visiting Professorship was launched with a fireside chat with colleagues from the Marsilius Kolleg on Monday, 4 December 2023.

Public Lecture

Cheerleaders, guides, or watchdogs? The importance of critical science journalism

Tuesday, 16 January 2024, 7pm, The great Hall of the Old University

Science journalists have front row seats to the latest and most exciting scientific discoveries. Their stories can inspire, inform, enlighten, and entertain their audiences. But they also have a responsibility to investigate and report the shadier sides of the scientific enterprise, including sloppy research practices, fraud, plagiarism, biases, discrimination, bullying, and sexual misconduct. Exposing such flaws may seem risky at a time when trust in science might be eroding, but critical reporting by independent journalists can also help rebuild that trust.

Siebte Nature Marsilius Gastprofessur 2023 - Martin Enserink


Course 1

Writing (or talking) about your research for a non-specialist audience

Target group: PhD students, Postdocs, Professors

Tue., 05.12.2023, 10am – 12:30pm (Part 1)
Tue., 12.12.2023, 10am – 12:30pm (Part 2)
INF 130.1, Seminar Room 01.105

A press release about a new paper, a talk for a lay audience, an opinion piece in the newspaper, a podcast, a funding proposal, a book, a science fair…. There are many ways researchers can engage in science communication, and many reasons to do so: Advancing your career, for example, improving government policies, fighting dis- and misinformation, or inspiring the next generation of scientists. In session 1 of this workshop, we’ll discuss why scientists should engage in science communication and try to find some ground rules. Then, as homework, you will write a short story—or produce some other type of communication—about your research. In a second session a week later, we will discuss the results.

Course 2

Plan B: Instead of a scientist, should you become a science journalist?

Target group: Bachelor, Master, PhD candidates and Postdocs

Fri., 08.12.2023, 10am – 12:30pm
INF 130.1, Lecture Hall 00.101

Many science journalists have a degree in one of the sciences. If you yourself are a science student unsure whether your future is in research, science journalism may seem like an attractive alternative career path--a Plan B for science dropouts. But working in science journalism—and its cousin, science communication—takes talent, dedication, and hard work as well. It’s not for everyone. In this workshop, we will talk about the two fields, what it takes to become a science reporter or a science communicator, how you decide whether one of these is something for you—and if so, how to make the switch successfully.

Course 3

Help! There’s a journalist on the line. Essential media skills for the academic researcher

Target group: PhD students, Postdocs, Professors

Group 1: Wed., 13.12.2023, 9:30am – 1pm
Group 2: Wed., 17.01.2024, 9:30am – 1pm
INF 130.1, Seminar Room 01.105

Hooray, it’s happening: a journalist wants to do an interview about your research. Now what? Should you trust her? How to prepare? What are the ground rules? What to say, and how do you say it? And what not to say? In this hands-on workshop, we’re going to discuss and practice media interviews and draw lessons from the experience.

Course 4

How to blow the whistle without hurting your career

Target group: Open to all university members

Thu., 11.01.2024, 10:00am – 12:30pm
INF 130.1, Lecture Hall 00.101

Many cases of research misconduct come to light only because someone dares to blow the whistle. But how do you do that? Will your institution take your suspicions seriously? Will they protect you? Would approaching the press be effective—and can you trust a journalist? How do you make sure your whistleblowing doesn’t hurt your career? And how do journalists handle these sensitive cases?

In this workshop, Swedish research fraud whistleblower Josefin Sundin and science journalist Martin Enserink will discuss what they learned from high-profile misconduct cases. Joachim Kirsch, research integrity ombudsman for Life Sciences at the University of Heidelberg, will discuss the institutional perspective. Be sure to bring your questions or send them (anonymously if you prefer) to mail@enserink.net ahead of time.

Siebte Nature Marsilius Gastprofessur 2023 - Martin Enserink - Workshops


For Registration