Finding the story behind the research
Dr. Aditi Khandelwal and the Canadian Blood Services Lay Science Writing Competition
Many Canadians are familiar with the Canadian Blood Services (CBS), a Canadian healthcare charity associated with blood drives around the country (except Quebec). You may know about the CBS because you have donated blood or recognize its catchphrase “It’s in you to give” from their TV commercials.
But the importance of the CBS stretches beyond blood drives. It also facilitates plasma, stem cell, and organ and tissue donations, and provides opportunities to do research, development, and innovation on the formulation of blood and related biological products.
The CBS co-sponsors a competition that allows young scientists to flex their science writing muscles. CBS, the Centre for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia, and Science Borealis host and judge entries to the Canadian Blood Services Lay Science Writing Competition, an annual contest that offers $300 for first prize.
Aditi Khandelwal, an MD and specialist in Internal Medicine and Adult Hematology who is completing a fellowship in transfusion medicine through one of the Canadian Blood Services Competitive Training Funding Programs, placed first in this year’s competition. Talking about her motivation for entering the competition, she says, “As a clinician and researcher, I often have opportunities to talk about the science aspect of my research. However, there are rare avenues to discuss personal motivation and drive behind choosing to do the research. This competition allowed me to talk about my research in a way I have never done before.”
Writing about science for a general audience is very different from the technical writing that researchers do in their daily jobs. Normally, they are writing for an audience familiar with their field of work. For a general audience, researchers have to filter out jargon and include personal stories that are relevant to everyday people.