Scientists: Engage the Public!

“ Scientists must communicate about science with public audiences to promote an understanding of complex issues that we face in our technologically advanced society. Some scientists may be concerned about a social stigma or “Sagan effect” associated with participating in public communication. Recent research in the social sciences indicates that public communication by scientists is not a niche activity but is widely done and can be beneficial to a scientist’s career. There are a variety of approaches that scientists can take to become active in science communication.”

 

There are several concrete steps that scientists can take to participate in or support science communication by scientists.

Seek out training in order to increase your effectiveness. There are many organizations that offer a variety of communication training opportunities. For example, there will be several science communication sessions at the upcoming ASM Microbe meeting. Participating in communication training can also be a great confidence booster.

Leverage your time and efforts by partnering with organizations that reach audiences you care about in your community.

Support your students, employees, and colleagues in their science communication efforts by encouraging them, sharing your experiences, and helping them prioritize these activities.

If you are an NSF grantee, then focus your BI work to “Broaden dissemination to enhance scientific and technological understanding.”

If available, take advantage of your institution’s BI office to help you form partnerships to broaden your reach.

Seek out scientists who communicate with the public and learn how they work.

Explore the science communication resources and programs from the scientific societies to which you belong. Groups such as Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences (http://nas-sites.org/publicinterfaces/#) also help scientists to find the knowledge and tools to develop public engagement approaches in the life sciences.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: mbio.asm.org

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