Tag Archives: The George Washington University
Research!America’s science communications event, “Research Matters Communications Workshop: Promoting Basic Research in a New Age of Communications: Challenges and Opportunities,” was held October 9 at the Marvin Center on the campus of the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
GWU’s vice president for research, Leo Chalupa, PhD (pictured at right), opened the day with remarks that implored the nearly 100 young scientists in attendance to think about their families when they communicate.
“Act like your Aunt Harriet is in the audience,” Chalupa said; his welcoming remarks indeed laid the groundwork for the workshop, as Aunt Harriet would be referenced frequently throughout the morning.
Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley followed with an introduction of the plenary speaker; Woolley also hit on a theme that is especially relevant this week. She recalled the story of 2000 Nobel Prize winner Paul Greengard, PhD and his sister, Chris Chase. In an op-ed in The New York Times a few days after Greengard’s win, Chase lamented that she never fully understood the research her brother had undertaken. Upon winning, however, she read news accounts that explained his work as determining how brain cells communicate; this work could one day impact Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
“I’m thrilled he won,” Chase wrote, and Woolley recounted. “Now I know what he does.”
That segued into the plenary session from Christie Nicholson, a lecturer at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Nicholson (pictured below) began the session by reminding the audience that effective communication isn’t just necessary when dealing with the public; because science has become so specialized, researchers sometimes can’t understand what their own colleagues are saying.
Nicholson explained that it’s important to tell a story. But before you can begin to craft a story, she said it’s critical to not only understand the goal you’re trying to achieve, but also to understand your audience. And to do that, one must know what the audience knows, what the audience cares about and what motivates them. Continue reading →
Dear Research Advocate:
The Commerce Department’s report of the U.S. trade deficit narrowing to its lowest level since October 2009 is welcome news, but the devil is in the details. Despite the economic progress, our trade deficit with China is nearly as large as our overall trade deficit. Put that together with the fact that China is rigorously investing in R&D while our nation stifles it, and you can see the handwriting on the wall. U.S. export capabilities will be stymied while China’s are bolstered. It’s not a recipe for a strong and stable economy going forward.
China is not the only nation steadily increasing investment in R&D, taking a page from what used to be the U.S. playbook. As I shared with Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic for his article today, “If federal funding continues to decline, our leadership status in the short-term will be tenuous at best.” Research!America’s polling on international competitiveness shows that Americans are acutely aware of our declining leadership status: More than half believe that a country other than the U.S. will be the global leader in science and technology by 2020. A quarter of respondents say that China will be the next world leader.
Sam Stein of The Huffington Post portrays the consequences of short-sighted budgets for science. His story’s dramatic headline — “Sequestration Ushers In A Dark Age For Science In America” — is illustrated with economic points and also stresses what may be lost in terms of scientific discovery. Claire Pomeroy, MD, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, reinforces the sentiment in her piece on the importance of research advocacy, also in The Huffington Post yesterday. Please join us in being sure your elected representatives receive the message carried in these articles, and then urge everyone in your networks to do the same! Continue reading →
Promoting Basic Research in a New Age of Communications: Challenges and Opportunities
Scientists, journalists and policy makers. What do they all have in common? They all are trained (in very different ways) to ask the hard questions while serving the public interest. Often the lines of communications between these three professions are weak or, sometimes, non-existent. A greater understanding between them is needed to demonstrate the value and the return on investment of basic biomedical research.
On October 9, 2013, join Research!America, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Elsevier, The George Washington University and the Society for Neuroscience for a workshop designed to enhance the ability of early-career scientists to effectively communicate their research to various audiences and become stronger advocates.
Plenary session speaker:
- Christie Nicholson, lecturer at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.
- Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University
- Debra Lappin, JD, principal, FaegreBD Consulting and Research!America Board member
- Cara Altimus, PhD, executive board member, Johns Hopkins Postdoc Association
- Nick Bath, JD, senior health policy advisor, Senate HELP Committee
- Patrick Carroll, legislative director, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS)
- Susan Heavey, health correspondent, Reuters
- Patricia Knight, founder, Knight Capitol Consultants, LLC; former chief of staff, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
- Jonathan Moreno, PhD, editor-in-chief, Science Progress blog; senior fellow, Center for American Progress
- Nancy Shute, health and medicine reporter, NPR
- Dan Smith, JD, principal, The Sheridan Group; founder and former president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
The program includes a plenary session by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University; two panel discussions with leaders in science, health communications, journalism, public health and public policy; and a session with top Elsevier editors on techniques for getting published in scientific journals.
Register for half off the admission price now through Friday, September 27: $37.50 for participants affiliated with Research!America members and $75 for participants not affiliated with Research!America members. (If you’ve already registered, we will offer a partial refund.)
Registration deadline has been extended to Friday, September 27.
For more information, visit www.researchamerica.org/communicationsworkshop