Prof Nox Makunga is a medicinal plant biotechnology expert who also wears a hat as one of South Africa’s top communicating scientists.

Prof Makunga gave an inspiring keynote address to 25 FBIP-funded students from across South Africa. She reflected on her journey as an actively communicating scientist and what it has done for her career as a scientist from a minority group.

Makunga also encouraged students to “find their own voice” on a platform that they are comfortable with, whether it be television, radio, or in the social media space.

On Twitter, @noxthelion is highly “visible” where she regularly engages on all things related to her journey as a scientist. She makes a clear distinction between “science communication” and “science engagement”. The former is a one-way process and the latter is bi-directional (and as a result more inclusive).

On Thursday the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) held its annual Postgraduate Student Forum with the theme “Elevating your science with science communication”. Due to the restrictions of the COVID 19 pandemic, the event was held virtually.

Here are some highlights from her talk:

The Postgrad Student Forum is directed at post-graduate students and post-doctoral fellows working on foundational biodiversity information-related projects including systematics, taxonomy and other disciplines that generate or that use foundational biodiversity information (e.g. DNA barcodes or sequence data, specimen or observation data).

Students had the opportunity to network, take part in a science communication Masterclass, and share their research progress and findings. Below are some highlights posted to Twitter: