Press release

When your PhD dissertation is accepted for public defence, you need to write a short press release in Danish and English about you PhD project.

Use the form press release and sent it to graduateschoolhealth@au.dk three weeks before your public defence.    

The aim of the press release

The press release is aimed at newspaper publications of names and events (“navneredaktionen”) and should not be confused with a news release about your results.

The purpose is to inform the public: 

  1. That the defence takes place
  2. What it is about
  3. Where it takes place
  4. That it is open to the public

The Graduate School of Health sees to that the press release reaches relevant newspapers. Furthermore, the press release will be attached to the announcement of your defence in the faculty calendar at health.au.dk  

How to write a press release

It can be challenging to describe complicated research projects in a way that is relevant and easy to understand for the average newspaper reader – particularly in this short form.

You should write in layman’s terms
The press release about your PhD project should be understandable to the average newspaper reader. Therefore you must write the text in layman terms and include a very brief summary (no more than approx. 200 words) of the research you have carried out.

It may be helpful to ask yourself “what”, “how” and “why” when you structure the text.

If you have already published your results in a scientific journal, you should include the main points and briefly outline the expected effect or benefit.

You should not include results that have not yet been published unless your main supervisor agrees.

The press release should also include 

  • Your name, title, department and the date of the defence
  • The title of the PhD dissertation, remember quotation marks
  • Text about the content of your PhD project
  • Information about the address and time of the defence
  • Your contact information (email and phone)

If you are not able to write the release in Danish, you need to get it translated.

You  also find inspiration by looking at other PhD students’ press releases - find them as attachments to the announcement of PhD defences in the faculty calendar at health.au.dk.   

FAQ

Is a press release about my PhD defene the same as a news release about my results?

No. The purpose of the press release about your PhD defene is mainly to tell the public about the event and the subject of your research. It is aimed at newspaper publications of names and events (in Danish “navneredaktionen”).

Why does the Graduate School of Health ask for this press release?

According to “the PhD Order” §19, the PhD dissertation must be made public in due time before the defene. Therefore, The Graduate School of Health asks for a press release in which the PhD student in his or her own words provides the public with a glimpse of the main content of the project.

Why do I need to write my press release both in Danish and in English?

The press release is meant for Danish newspapers and therefore it has to be in Danish. However, the Graduate School of Health has decided also to put the announcement of PhD defences on our English website in order to reach all PhD students and supervisors.

What should I do if my results have not yet been published?

Contact your main supervisor as it may conflict with your chances of publishing your results at a later point, if they have already been discussed in the media. Your main supervisor can advise you on how to formulate the description of the research you have carried out - without revealing too much ahead of publication in a peer reviewed journal.

How do I write about very complex research?

Some PhD projects are difficult to explain to non-specialists. In such cases, you should consider which less complicated aspect the press release can focus on. For instance you may be one of the first in Denmark to carry out research in this topic; you may have collaborated with some prominent forces in your field, or your research may contribute as a small step towards better treatment for a particular disease.

Can I get help from Health Communication?

You can always contact Health Communication for advice. But the unit will not be able to write a press release about a PhD defence given the large quantity of PhD students at Health. In case of a news release about your results you may get help from Health Communication. A news release would be aimed at the media’s news desk. It should focus on a series of news criteria concerning your results, typically at the time these are published.