95th ESA Annual Meeting (August 1 -- 6, 2010)

WK 17 - Got Broader Impacts? How the Research Ambassador Program Can Turn Outreach from Burden to Benefit

Monday, August 2, 2010: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
414, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Nalini Nadkarni
With the increasing gulf between humans and nature, and pressing global environmental issues, high-level science administrators are calling for scientists to participate in the dissemination of their work to non-scientific audiences. However, little training exists for scientists to be effective, efficient communicators. The academic system has few rewards for outreach by scientists, and can even actively discourage them. However, funding sources such as National Science Foundation (NSF) are increasingly demanding that such work be done. In 2010, the Ecosystems Program of the NSF made an award to create the Research Ambassador Program. Our objectives are to recruit, train, and provide assessment tools for ecologists who wish to present their work to non-scientific audiences, particularly to audiences with little access to nature, or for whom science is not a part of their regular interests. This workshop draws on five years of successful science outreach to non-traditional audiences. In our session, we will: (1) articulate the obstacles and rewards that scientists face when carrying out research outreach; (and 2) present successful case studies for such audiences as incarcerated men and women, faith-based communities, and urban youth. Then, each participant will describe his/her own research topic, and we will collectively brainstorm potential audiences and modes of communication by which outreach can be implemented. Finally, we will present models for materials that evaluate the audience’s and the scientists’ shifts in knowledge of content, attitudes, and behaviors.

Registration Fee: $0

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