National Academies Press: OpenBook

Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication: Workshop Summary (2014)

Chapter: Appendix F--Networks, Hubs, and Resources for Science Communication

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix F--Networks, Hubs, and Resources for Science Communication." 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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Appendix F
Networks, Hubs, and Resources for Science Communication

Workshop participants mentioned a number of useful resources for those interested in designing public engagement projects as well as examples of existing networks and hubs that could serve as models for a life science communication network.

•   CAISE: Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education’s projects space (www.informalscience.org/projects), a resource with information on informal science education projects.

•   CAKE: Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (www.cakex.org), a clearinghouse of climate change adaptation initiatives that could serve as a model for a clearinghouse of science communication initiatives.

•   CienciaPR: Ciencia Puerto Rico (www.cienciapr.org), a collaboration-promoting network of scientists, professionals, students, and citizens who share a passion and interest in science and science education that aims to encourage scientific research in Puerto Rico and raise awareness about the importance of science in Puerto Rico.

•   COMPASS (compassonline.org), a team of science-based communication professionals helping scientists engage with the public, the media, and policy makers about their research.

•   IAN: Integration and Application Network (ian.umces.edu), a group of scientists and staff at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science who are seeking to solve environmental problems by synthesizing data, communicating scientific knowledge, and developing solutions. IAN also provides communications training to scientists.

•   Leopold Leadership Program (leopoldleadership.stanford.edu), which trains scientists to communicate with nonscientist audiences and to translate their knowledge into action related to environmental sustainability.

•   SCIMEP: Science, Media and the Public (scimep.wisc.edu/), a research group that addresses the social, legal, and ethical implications of controversial scientific issues and technologies.

•   USDA Cooperative Extension System (www.csrees.usda.gov/qlinks/extension.html), a potential model for a life science communication infrastructure, and_eXtension (www.extension.org), an online hub connecting Cooperative Extension specialists directly with users in an interactive learning environment.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix F--Networks, Hubs, and Resources for Science Communication." 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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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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