Storytelling for Researchers

Course Information

Tuesday, November 12, 2019,
9:00 AM till 5:00 PM
Registration Opens
August 7, 2019, 9:00 AM
Registration Deadline
October 15, 2019
Course Fees
This course is free of charge and for doctoral candidates and postdocs of the University of Basel only (min. 8, max. 16 participants).
Dr. Samuel Lagier
Organized by

Graduate Center
Transferable Skills
GRACE Homepage


In hard sciences, the fundamental tool used by researchers to convince their community of the validity of their work is the statistical significance (or lack thereof). Figures and error bars are indeed part of the communication of research. Yet, the proof is different than the explanation. The ability to bring meaning to scientific results through carefully crafted arguments and narratives is essential to having an impact, to triggering a lasting impression and to getting funded successfully.

At the end of this workshop, participants will
* understand the value of storytelling and rhetoric applied to research communication
* know storytelling and rhetoric techniques
* have concrete examples of these techniques applied to their own research


How do you move people with a bar graph? How to you touch someone with a p-value? The workshop will open with a reflexion on a conundrum of research communication: finding the right balance between credibility and efficiency. The participants will then be immersed in storytelling to understand its functions and principles before looking into its applications to research communication. The participants will be presented with and use simple elements of rhetoric.

Throughout the workshop, participants will write and speak, alone or in group(s). Along with the practice of storytelling and rhetoric, participants will learn to identify and evaluate narrative structures in others’ stories.


This workshop will be very practical. Each participant will use his/her research as a
starting material to create a number of stories, story-arcs and structured arguments.

Target Group

Doctoral Candidates & Postdocs (Life and Natural Sciences)

About the Trainer

Dr Samuel Lagier is a multi-talented scientist and improviser. He teaches presentation skills to experts ( and curates, coaches and hosts the TEDxLausanne conference since 2012. He manages the Geneva branch of the Catalyst theatre company which creates new media to communicate science ( He performs and teaches improv to individuals and applied improv to corporate clients with the Renegade Saints (

In his scientific career, Dr Lagier studied sensory perception in the normal and in the schizophrenic brain, in France, the United States and in Switzerland.


8h workshop


Registrations will be processed according on a “first come, first served” principle. The course registration will be confirmed by email. The registration to a course makes the participation in the full training mandatory. For this workshop unexcused absence and cancellation of the workshop after the registration deadline leads to a penalty fee of CHF 30.00. (send an email to Please find the detailed regulations on the Transferable Skills Homepage.


Universitätsbibliothek Basel, GRACE room 306 (3rd floor) Schönbeinstrasse 18-20, 4056 Basel

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