Editorial theme: Curiosity

A good editorial theme is interesting, memorable and strikes a chord. The aim is to attract and inspire readers to do something. Last, but not least, it should be inspirational and speak to our readers about the one thing they care about — their future. Read more about why we are introducing themes here.

In our latest creative meeting, we agreed that between October and December 2017, we will tackle an exciting and inspiring theme: curiosity. To do so, we need your help and ideas!

Source: Mark Andersoon www.andertoons.com

Source: Mark Anderson, Andertoons

There are several reasons why I suggested curiosity as a content theme.

Why curiosity?

Since joining EMBL, I’ve had a chance to speak to a few of our colleagues about what makes them tick and how they ended up here. Curiosity often comes up as a reason for getting into science and a driving force behind research. Could we use this as a theme to see what gets people’s imagination going?

There are two different sides to curiosity. On the one hand, we could talk about what people are curious about, what gets their minds racing. On the other, we could also look at curious/weird things happening in molecular biology.

This is a versatile theme that would allow us to explore things like:

  • What are our people curious about?
  • What are the biology mysteries they would love to solve?
  • What one question drives their research?
  • What are the weird things happening in biology that we still haven’t explored?
  • Just how important is curiosity for scientists?

Below are some of my content suggestions for the theme. If you have any thoughts on how to make them better, give me a shout.

Content ideas – examples

Feature: The case for a curious mind

Feature on the value of curiosity-based research

EMBL encourages its people to pursue basic research and explore a huge range of topics. Science is not just about curing disease, it’s about understanding the world around us. But why do we need curiosity based research? How does it create a rich scientific ethos that helps us design and conduct better experiments?

Feature: The data repository – a modern cabinet of curiosities?

Cabinets of curiosities (or wunderkammer = wonder rooms) are early encyclopaedic collections of extraordinary objects that emerged around the 16th century. The cabinet of curiosities is a precursor of modern museums and evolved from two basic aspects of human nature: curiosity and the desire to collect.

Do today’s data repositories fulfil a similar need? A data repository helps scientists answer their research questions and satisfy their curiosity. But how is the availability of research data changing the way we ask scientific questions?

Social media campaign: What do you think is weird?

Social graphics/video from EMBL staff and alumni

Ask people what they are curious about. What is the one thing they would like to know about the world they live in. This could be science or non-science related but it would be a good insight into how a scientist’s mind works.

Social media campaign: How did you get interested in this research question?

This could be a question we ask our scientists that have papers coming up and if we get any interesting answers, they could be a good hook for the curiosity theme.

Internal comms – Weirdest thing about EMBL

Ask people to send their anonymous submission – what’s the weirdest thing about working at EMBL? What’s one thing you just don’t get? What’s in that dodgy casserole they serve every other Tuesday? Where does the big metal door lead to? Who were those bodies they found on the Hinxton campus? Why does that guy always wear flip flops?

This would just be a fun article for the intranet where we could pick a few things that make EMBLers such a strange, but lovable bunch.

How can you help?

At this point, the sky is the limit, so I would like to ask you all to think of content ideas for the theme. Don’t limit yourselves to written content, let’s try and get creative with the format as well! Think of what would make good videos, social campaigns, infographics, photo stories, interviews etc. You can submit your ideas here.

Please try to formulate your ideas in the usual pitch format. Think about the hook (what makes this timely?), message, audience and format.

We’re looking forward to hearing your ideas at the next creative meeting on July 27.

If you would like to have a chat about your idea before putting it forward, you can always e-mail me on stroe@ebi.ac.uk.

Author: Oana Stroe

Oana is a Communications Officer at EMBL-EBI

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