A business idea often comes from applying your unique perspective and experience to solve a problem.
It’s that unique outlook that led Dr Tullio Rossi to establish Animate Your Science - a boutique communications agency, specialising in creating engaging video and graphical abstracts for scientists to help them get their research messages heard, particularly through social media.
Dr Rossi originally completed a degree in marine biology, followed by a PhD in climate science at the University of Adelaide. He worked professionally as a graphic designer for over a decade and honed his skills as a science communicator sufficiently to win regular high-level invitations to teach and speak in the field, including internationally.
Industry reports estimate 20% of scientists worldwide—around 1.6 million—now regularly use social media for outreach and self-promotion,enthuses Tullio.
“So, given scientists with a social media presence are the most likely group to value and use our services, we initially estimate our potential market to be around 1.6 million individuals. But ultimately we envision a day when video abstracts will be the norm and all research papers will have one, just as all movies now have a trailer.”
It’s easy to imagine that vision eventuating, too: presently 2.5 million academic papers are published around the world each year, and many are never read, let alone cited. Countless valuable studies, as Tullio puts it, are drowning in an ocean of research.
Preventing so much knowledge being “lost”, he believes, by making findings more visually appealing and easy to understand, will bring widespread benefits.
“Our clients will be more likely to receive exposure on social and traditional media, which will boost their level of influence and help them obtain future funding. And most importantly, the general public will get a healthy injection of fun and understandable science.
What we really want to do is bring science into society. That’s the true value of this company and the reason we believe in it.
Having received overwhelmingly positive client feedback in his first few months, Tullio now has three priority items on his short-term to-do list. The first is to negotiate deals with scholarly publishers to incorporate Animate Your Science into their existing publishing process as an add-on service for authors. The second is to create high-quality educational materials on science communication and make them freely available on the company’s blog. “I want our website to become the ‘Wikipedia’ of science communication.”
Number three is putting on staff. But one thing he doesn’t have to think about, is premises. “ThincLab is amazing. I breathe the exciting start-up air here every day, and regularly have interesting and helpful conversations with other founders. And I can’t stress enough how useful the mentoring program has been.
“The guidance I’ve received at ThincLab has helped me rethink my business so that I’m no longer a bottleneck. It’s changed my mentality from freelancer to entrepreneur, so the business can now grow and, one day, run itself with minimal supervision from me.”
This fits beautifully with Tullio’s long-term personal goal of becoming “some sort of ‘Brian Cox’ of marine and climate science”; still working on Animate Your Science, but also helping to preserve the natural resources of our planet by teaching science communication and talking to the general public.