Skip to content High contrast mode
Logo of Maastricht Summer School

Scientific Writing and Communication

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €398 per programme


The scientific process requires writing and communication of results and theories. This course will cover the modern scientific communication process including creation and interpretation of figures, reading and writing scientific papers, and presentation of findings and data.

Course content and structure:
Effective communication has become essential in the modern, internet-driven world. Scientific communication is no exception. Film and novels often portray science as the efforts of an isolated individual or small-team who achieve a “breakthrough” and then move on to another project. In reality, the scientific process isn’t complete until the results and data have been communicated and disseminated into the wider scientific community. Unfortunately, many new scientists lack crucial communication skills – such as how to use reference management software, how to create or modify a publication-quality figure efficiently, or how to give an impactful presentation. The aim of this course is to provide you the fundamentals to be an effective scientific communicator.

This course will cover:
• How to think about and critically assess scientific figures and writing
• Creating easily-understood figures without misleading or biased chart elements
• Skills for finding, reading, and internalizing scientific literature
• Technical writing with a focus on scientific articles and figure descriptions
• How to write a scientific paper
• Designing impactful communications including content layout, diction, and audience or journal selection
• Communication with laypeople and “elevator” pitches
• Basics of the proposal or grant writing process
• Considerations for giving an impactful scientific presentation
• An overview of software options and alternatives for reference management, writing and editing, poster creation, presentation creation, and figure creation

This course is aimed at graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in becoming scientists or professionals who might engage in scientific or technical communication.

Course Duration and Dates This is a one week course running from the 13th of July until the 17th of July, 2020

ECTS The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 2 ECTS according to Maastricht University’s guidelines. For further information see the MSS terms and conditions

Ian Anthony is a postdoctoral researcher at the Maastricht Multimodal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4i) where he researches building and improving mass spectrometers. He received his doctorate in Chemistry from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He has taught highly-acclaimed workshops on mass spectrometry, won awards for scientific communication, and published his research in leading analytical chemistry journals. His research interests are in developing imaging mass spectrometry and ion mobility, instrument design from a chemometric perspective, and combining spectroscopy and mass spectrometry.

• Become familiar with producing publication-quality scientific figures
• Learn to effectively locate and read relevant scientific papers
• Gain basic familiarity with software helpful for effective scientific communication
• Understand the scientific paper writing process including the peer review process
• Gain confidence and skill in presenting scientific information

Instruction language

(Not required) An existing project or data set that could be communicated could be helpful for some of the assignments.

Recommend literature
No textbook is required, however relevant literature will be presented in class primarily from the following sources:

Tufte, Edward R. The visual display of quantitative information. Graphics press, 2001.

Tufte, Edward R. Beautiful evidence. Graphics press, 2006.

Day, Robert A. and Barbara Gastel. How to write and publish a scientific paper. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Programme structure

Teaching methods
• Assignments
• Lectures
• Presentations
• Work in subgroups

Assessment methods
• Attendance
• Assignment
• Presentation
• Participation

Apply now! Block 3.1 2019/20
Application deadline
Jun 8, 2020 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 13, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Block 3.1 2019/20
Application deadline
Jun 8, 2020 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 13, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States