Past Event

Public Interfaces of Life Science: Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication

December 9, 2013 - January 10, 2014

Location: National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW Washington DC 20418

What institutional barriers are keeping life scientists from communicating to the public about their work?

While issues in the life sciences find increasing relevance in public dialogue -- environmental change, health and medicine, food security, among others -- there appears to be little in the way of institutional or societal commitment and infrastructure to support the communications activities of life scientists. At the same time, some organizations are exploring new or alternate models for supporting life scientists as they interact with various publics.

Leaders from the life sciences community and from research organizations explored the current landscape of public communication of the life sciences. The workshop addressed many challenges life scientists face, policy restrictions in government, incentives and adequate support structures at the university level, and intellectual property issues in industry. Participants also highlighted new opportunities and models of communications. The workshop concluded with discussions about the funding landscape for life scientist communicators and the building blocks needed to develop sustainable infrastructures for life science communication.

Organizers: Kenneth Ramos, University of Louisville (co-chair); Brooke Smith, COMPASS (co-chair); May Berenbaum, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Rick Borchelt, US Department of Energy; Bruce Lewenstein, Cornell University; Stephen Palacios, Added Value Cheskin

Workshop Summaries Resulting from this Event

Sustainable Infrastructure for Life Science Communications: Workshop Summary (2014)

Engaging the public-at-large with the life sciences is more important now than ever. Advances in life sciences research--from biofuels to genetically modified foods, and from biotechnology to sustainable communities--have enormous implications for the health and well-being of society and the environment. Yet, there are few support systems for scientists who wish to share their research with non-expert audiences. The National Research Council'... More >>