National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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SUSTAINABLE
INFRASTRUCTURES
FOR
LIFE SCIENCE
COMMUNICATION

WORKSHOP SUMMARY

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

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS   500 Fifth Street, N.W.   Washington, DC 20001

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.

ISBN-13: 978-0-309-30193-0
ISBN-10: 0-309-30193-9

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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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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.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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ROUNDTABLE ON PUBLIC INTERFACES OF THE LIFE SCIENCES

COCHAIRS

MAY BERENBAUM,* University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

DIETRAM SCHEUFELE, University of Wisconsin–Madison

MEMBERS

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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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BOARD ON LIFE SCIENCES

CHAIR

JO HANDELSMAN, Yale University

MEMBERS

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

STAFF

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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BOARD ON SCIENCE EDUCATION

CHAIR

HELEN R. QUINN, Stanford University

MEMBERS

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

STAFF

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

Page viii Cite
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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Preface

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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18728.
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Contents

ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

     CAKE

Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange

     ICAN

International Canopy Network

     IFFF

Insect Fear Film Festival

     NCI

National Cancer Institute

     NSF

National Science Foundation

     STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

     UIUC

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

     UMCES

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

1   INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Purpose and Themes

Workshop Overview

About This Report

2   LIFE SCIENTISTS ENGAGED: PERSONAL EXPERIENCES FROM THE FRONTIER

Confessions of an Erstwhile Entomophobe

Raising the Bar (Behind Bars) for Public Engagement

Making Science Matter

A Nerd of Trust

3   TRENDS IN PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT MECHANISMS AND ATTITUDES

Roots: Historical Perspectives on Science Communication

Off the Record: Perspectives of Journalists

Trends in Government Transparency

Scientists’ Use of the Popular Media and Social Media

Peer Review—Still the Coin of the Realm

Differing Priorities in the Academic, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors

4   MODELS FOR A SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE

What Is a Sustainable Infrastructure?

Charting a Course: Approaches to Engagement

From Tripedal to Quadrupedal: Discovery, Integration, Application, and Teaching

Extending Cooperative Extension

Bridging the Science–Humanities Divide

Traversing the Valley: The Role of Boundary Organizations

Gauging Success

5   TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE: FRICTION AND MOMENTUM

Clearing the Hurdles

Communication Goals and Audiences

6   PATHWAYS AND DESTINATIONS

Beginning the Journey

Are We Spending Enough?

If I Had a Million Dollars …

Working on the Railroad: An Infrastructure Analogy

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Advances in the life sciences - from the human genome to biotechnology to personalized medicine and sustainable communities - have profound implications for the well-being of society and the natural world. Improved public understanding of such scientific advances has the potential to benefit both individuals and society through enhanced quality of life and environmental protection, improved K-12 and undergraduate science education, greater understanding of human connections to the natural world, and more sustainable policies and regulations. Yet few systems of support exist to help life scientist communicators share their research with a broad range of public audiences, or engage the public in discussions about their work.

Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication is the summary of a two-part workshop convened in December 2013 and January 2014 by the National Research Council Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences to identify 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 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 report considers communication infrastructure across a range of life science institutions, including federal agencies, academia, industry, and nonprofit organizations and explores novel approaches to facilitate effective science communication.

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