Elizabeth Stallman Brown, Laurence Yeung, and Keegan Sawyer, Rapporteurs
Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences
Board on Life Sciences
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Board on Science Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This workshop was supported by grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (1012215), Dupont, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (54107660), Monsanto, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (2103-38471).
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
About the cover: Above the cityscape, the title block contains a multi-colored word cloud derived from workshop attendees' ideas for infrastructure building blocks, which are detailed in Chapter 6 and Appendix E. Design by Laurence Yeung.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
ROUNDTABLE ON PUBLIC INTERFACES OF THE LIFE SCIENCES
MAY BERENBAUM,* University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
DIETRAM SCHEUFELE, University of Wisconsin–Madison
IVAN AMATO, DC Science Café
KRISTI ANSETH, University of Colorado, Boulder
RICK BORCHELT,* U.S. Department of Energy
RODOLPHO DIRZO, Stanford University
DAVID EWING DUNCAN, Freelance Journalist
JOHN DURANT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
DAVID FOWLER, Ogilvy and Mather
FRED GOULD, North Carolina State University
JAMES HILDRETH, University of California, Davis
ALAN LESHNER, American Association for the Advancement of Science
BRUCE LEWENSTEIN,* Cornell University
GEORGE MATSUMOTO, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
JONATHAN D. MORENO, University of Pennsylvania
MATTHEW NISBET, American University
JOHN OHAB, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
STEPHEN PALACIOS,* Added Value Cheskin
KENNETH S. RAMOS,* University of Louisville
MARGARET A. RILEY, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
TAMI C. SCHILLING, Monsanto
JUDY SCOTCHMOOR, University of California Museum of Paleontology (retired)
BETH A. SHAPIRO, University of California, Santa Cruz
BROOKE SMITH,* COMPASS
MARY WOOLLEY, Research!America
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF
KEEGAN SAWYER, Program Officer
MARTIN STORKSDIECK, Board Director
LAURENCE YEUNG, Christine S. Mirzayan Fellow
KATI REIMER, Senior Program Assistant
ELIZABETH STALLMAN BROWN, Consulting Science Writer
*These members of the Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences served as members of the planning committee of the Workshop on Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication, but were not involved in the writing of this workshop summary.
BOARD ON LIFE SCIENCES
JO HANDELSMAN, Yale University
ENRIQUETA C. BOND, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
ROGER D. CONE, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
SEAN EDDY, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus
SARAH C. R. ELGIN, Washington University
DAVID R. FRANZ, Former Cdr USAMRIID, Consultant
LOUIS J. GROSS, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
ELIZABETH HEITMAN, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
JOHN G. HILDEBRAND, University of Arizona, Tucson
RICHARD A. JOHNSON, Arnold & Porter, LLC
JUDITH KIMBLE, University of Wisconsin–Madison
CATO T. LAURENCIN, University of Connecticut Health Center
ALAN I. LESHNER, American Association for the Advancement of Science
KAREN E. NELSON, J. Craig Venter Institute
ROBERT M. NEREM, Georgia Institute of Technology
CAMILLE PARMESAN, University of Texas, Austin
ALISON G. POWER, Cornell University
MARGARET RILEY, University of Massachusetts
JANIS C. WEEKS, University of Oregon
MARY WOOLLEY, Research!America
FRANCES E. SHARPLES, Director
JO L. HUSBANDS, Scholar/Senior Project Director
JAY B. LABOV, Senior Scientist/Program Director for Biology Education
KATHERINE W. BOWMAN, Senior Program Officer
INDIA HOOK-BARNARD, Senior Program Officer
MARILEE K. SHELTON-DAVENPORT, Senior Program Officer
KEEGAN SAWYER, Program Officer
LAURENCE YEUNG, Christine S. Mirzayan Fellow
BETHELHEM M. MEKASHA, Financial Associate
CARL G. ANDERSON, Program Associate
SAYYEDA AYESHA AHMED, Senior Program Assistant
ANGELA KOLESNIKOVA, Administrative Assistant
BOARD ON SCIENCE EDUCATION
HELEN R. QUINN, Stanford University
GEORGE BOGGS, Palomar College (emeritus)
MELANIE COOPER, Michigan State University
RODOLFO DIRZO, Stanford University
JACQUELYNNE ECCLES, University of Michigan
JOSEPH FRANCISCO, Purdue University
MARGARET A. HONEY, New York Hall of Science
SUSAN KIEFFER, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
MATTHEW KREHBIEL, Kansas State Department of Education
MICHAEL LACH, Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago
LYNN LIBEN, Pennsylvania State University
BRIAN REISER, Northwestern University
MARSHALL SMITH, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
ROBERTA TANNER, Thompson School District, Loveland, Colorado (retired)
SUZANNE WILSON, University of Connecticut
YU XIE, University of Michigan
MARTIN STORKSDIECK, Director
HEIDI SCHWEINGRUBER, Deputy Director
NATALIE NIELSEN, Senior Program Officer
MARGARET HILTON, Senior Program Officer
MICHAEL FEDER, Senior Program Officer
REBECCA KRONE, Program Associate
The Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences was established in 2013 by the National Research Council. It is a forum for examining the challenges facing life scientists’ ability to communicate and engage in dialogue about advancing areas of the life sciences that may raise public discussion and debate. The Roundtable is overseen by the National Research Council’s Division on Earth and Life Studies, and involves its Board on Life Sciences and the Board on Science Education of the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. The Roundtable aims to strengthen life science engagement by facilitating ongoing discussion and information exchange among life scientists engaged in research, social scientists who study science communication, and practitioners who communicate life science as a profession. One way it does this is by organizing workshops that address issues in life science communication that require more widespread or national attention and discussion.
On December 9, 2013, and January 10, 2014, the Roundtable held a workshop called “Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication.” The two-part workshop focused on identifying infrastructure-related barriers that inhibit or prohibit life scientists from communicating about their work, and characteristics of infrastructure that facilitate or encourage scientists to engage with public audiences. The Statement of Task for the workshop organizing committee is provided in Appendix A.
The workshop featured both formal presentations and panel discussions among participants from academia, industry, journalism, the federal government, and nonprofit organizations. The presentations highlighted the motivations of and challenges to life scientist communicators, theoretical approaches to science communication, examples of different types of infrastructure to support science communication, and the need for building more sustainable science communication infrastructures.
This document summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place at the workshop. In accordance with the policies of the Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences, the workshop did not attempt to establish any conclusions or recommendations about needs and future directions, focusing instead on issues identified by the speakers and workshop participants. In addition, the organizing committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop. The workshop summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteurs Elizabeth Stallman Brown, Laurence Yeung, and Keegan Sawyer as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop.
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purposes of this review are to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards of objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following for their participation in the review of this summary:
Rodolfo Dirzo, Stanford University
Declan Fahy, American University
Erika Schugart, American Society for Microbiology
Brooke Smith, COMPASS
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse, nor did they see, the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review of this summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this summary rests entirely with the authors and the National Research Council.
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange
International Canopy Network
Insect Fear Film Festival
National Cancer Institute
National Science Foundation
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science