Support Systems for Scientists' Communication and Engagement: An Exploration of the People and Institutions Empowering Effective Impact

Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Public Events and Festivals, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops, Conferences, Museum and Science Center Exhibits, Informal/Formal Connections, Higher Education Programs
Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | General Public | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Education and learning science | General STEM
The Kavli Foundation
Description or Abstract: 

Many scientists want to connect with the public, but their efforts to do so are not always easy or effective. Visionary programs and institutions are leading the way identifying the support needed to enable scientists’ connections with the public. However, the current appetite by -- and demand for -- scientists to do this exceeds the capacity of those who facilitate quality communication and engagement efforts. More can be done to ensure that those who support scientists are networked, sharing best practices, and supported by a reliable infrastructure.

This workshop series will view the entire system of people who support scientists’ engagement and communication efforts in order to explore how this system can be most effective and sustainable. The discussions will examine where this system is thriving, the limits people within the system face and what can be done to ensure their efforts are commensurate with the demand for quality communication and engagement support. Conducted over five closely scheduled workshops to be scheduled for late 2017 and 2018, the first four workshops will bring together leaders in different parts of the field who bridge scientists and the public. The fifth workshop will be a plenary event that provides a more holistic view of scientists’ support system in order to discern directions to advance the field.

Inspired by the Kavli Symposia hosted by the MIT Knight Science Fellowship program, each invitation-only meeting will bring together scientists, academic leaders, engagement professionals, researchers, communication trainers, and foundation leaders. Based upon input from preliminary conversations with these groups, the series’ initial focus will be:

Workshop I: Communication and engagement training programs
• Dec. 4-5, 2017 at SUNY Global Center/Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science in New York City

Workshop II: Associations, societies and other professional organizations
• Feb. 28 - March 1, 2018 at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, MD

Workshop III: Academic institutions
• March 27-28, 2018 at UC San Diego

Workshop IV: Science engagement facilitators (museums, science festivals, connectors)
• May 2-3, 2018 at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Workshop V: Plenary event
• Fall 2018, date and location TBD

The goal of the workshops is to explore how to ensure scientists’ communication and engagement support is effective and sustained. In doing so, we will 1) deepen our understanding of how scientists are currently supported in these areas, 2) map the broader support system to expose the opportunities and obstacles that play a role in achieving this goal, and 3) identify strategic and practical next steps that move us closer to this goal. This initiative will also forge and strengthen networks across communities and institutions – and in so doing, take a view of the entire system to explore how everyone can better ensure their efforts are impactful, mutually supportive, and connected to a greater whole.

Private Foundation
Funding Program: 
The Kavli Foundation
Private Foundation
Funding Program: 
Rita Allen Foundation
Private Foundation
Funding Program: 
The David & Lucile Packard Foundation
Private Foundation
Funding Program: 
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Project Products

Team Members

Brooke SmithBrooke SmithProject Manager

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