With funding becoming scarce and anti-science rhetoric on the rise, it's not enough for scholars and scientists to do research anymore; they have to be able to explain their work to policymakers and the wider public.
Now, a new program out of the Duke’s just-launched Science & Society program will help scientists (including social scientists) develop their communication skills and practice putting them into action.
The SciComm Fellows Program will run for four Fridays during the fall semester beginning Sept. 19. All sessions will run for approximately five hours.
"Policymakers often lack a thorough understanding of the research necessary to make informed decisions in the best interests of their constituents," said Misha Angrist, associate professor of the practice and a senior fellow of Duke Science & Society. "But empirical data strongly suggest that good science communication both empowers citizens and benefits the careers of scientists."
Training will guide scientists through a range of scenarios and skills, such as responding to interview questions on controversial topics, writing op-eds, giving talks to general audiences and using social media.
Session facilitators will include academic specialists in science communication, professional science storytellers and policy experts from Duke and beyond. The course will include spoken and written communication exercises to prepare the scientists to do meaningful outreach, opportunities to brief Congress and participation in media interviews.
All regular-rank faculty members are eligible, but admission is competitive. Department chairs and institute heads are encouraged to nominate candidates.
Science & Society will cover the $2,000 tuition costs for the program for faculty members who participate in all four sessions. However, for every missed session, fellows will be charged $500.