Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

Excellent communication at CCBIO

Centre Director Lars A. Akslen and Communications Adviser at CCBIO Marion Solheim were invited to the NUAS conference at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm to share how CCBIO communicate their research activities.

Lars Akslen and Marion Solheim speaking at a conference about communication.
CCBIO at the NUAS conference in June 2015
Courtney Bowe/Twitter

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The NUAS (The Nordic Association of University Administrators) conference took place June 14 - 16 2015. 62 Nordic universities are included in NUAS and around 300 people attended the conference. Akslen and Solheim were responsible for the lecture with the most participants, "Help Me Help You". In the programme, we read the following:

In this shared-session, former NRK journalist, Marion Solheim, will explain how she turned PR-pessimist Lars A. Akslen into a “go-to source” for media while maintaining his credibility as a well-respected academic and cancer researcher. 


Focus on research communication

Akslen and Solheim have been working with strategic communication for CCBIO from the planning process of the centre, and has achieved many good reputation building stories in the media. Some recent examples are a seven minute story at the Saturday Newsshow with a following Top Story at nrk.no and five-page feature article in Sunnmørsposten.

- Communicating research results are important for several reasons, Akslen explains.

-Firstly, we are talking about public education. That is definitely important. Secondly, we want to be more than a research centre, we wish to be a major player in the public debate. That means to be able to influence. A positive focus in the media leads to focus among policymakers and funding institutions. Also, it's fun to communicate!



Professionalism is important

Solheim talked about the importance of having a sense of ownership of the centre, by getting to know the staff and get involved in more than just media matters. Annual reports, graphical profile, training and counseling are also part of the communication work in CCBIO.

-There should also be professionalism in all aspects. The days where some random employee would make the centre logo in Photoshop is definitely over, Solheim says.

-That means professional photos, professional annual reports and so on. Quality of research should be reflected in what we show to the public. But, you should also have fun at work, and we certainly do, Solheim commented with a laugh.

Later in the session Candace Smith from George Washington University joined the speakers. The final part of the session Akslen, Solheim and Smith got many questions from an engaged audience.