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Science Communication Workshop Exercise

Workshops & Training

The Duke Initiative for Science & Society provides scientists and engineers at all levels with training to develop science communication skills and helps put those skills into action. Workshops range from one-hour to multi-day sessions, depending on your needs.

Bring Science Communication Workshops to your Institution

Funding is scarce. Anti-science rhetoric is on the rise. Public understanding of (and support for) science is shaped by myriad influences – many of them non-scientific. Policymakers often struggle to understand the relevance and impact of research that affects their constituents.

Yet, empirical data suggest that the public remains excited about science and technology, and values the societal contributions of scientists and engineers. It is clear that effective science communication both empowers citizens and benefits the careers of scientists and engineers.

The Duke Initiative for Science & Society provides scientists and engineers at all levels with training to develop science communication skills and put those skills into action. Workshops range from one-hour to multi-day sessions, depending on your needs.

Presenter Karl Bates teaches a class on science communication

What is covered in our science communication training?

We typically use a module-approach to customize workshops, based on the specific skills the audience seeks. Some of the modules/topics include:

  • Science Communication 101 – Why We Struggle to Communicate and what the Research tells us about Strategies for Improving our Speaking, Writing and Storytelling Practices for Diverse Audiences
  • “At the Neighborhood Block Party” – An interactive exercise similar to “elevator pitch training”)
  • Using Social Media to Communicate your Science
  • Nailing the Media Interview
  • Communicating your Work to Policy Makers
  • Communicating your Work to Potential Funders/Donors
  • Communicating Controversial Science (in Non-Controversial Ways)
  • Writing a Great Op-Ed
  • Working with your News Office to Advance Your Visibility
  • Giving Better Presentations and The Power of Visuals
  • Improvisation and Role-Playing Exercises to Improve SciComm Skills

Are you interested in something that is not listed above? Contact us using the form on the right to discuss it.

Who is our science communication training for?

Many different stakeholders at your institution will benefit, including:

  • Undergraduates
  • Graduate students
  • Postdocs
  • New/pre-tenure faculty
  • Tenured/senior faculty
  • Development officers
  • Administration and staff

Our science communication training philosophy and facilitators

Everything we do requires active participation by workshop participants, followed by facilitator and peer feedback. We don’t lecture about communicating, we get participants to do it (in a fun, dynamic environment with rehearsal and supportive coaching).

Woman in the Science Communication "hot seat"

This curriculum is time-tested and well-reviewed by its participants. You can read about past workshops and hear from participants here.

Workshops are run by Dr. Jory Weintraub, the Science Communication Program Director with the Duke Initiative for Science & Society and a PhD scientist with over 20 years of experience in science communication, outreach and education. Many workshops are co-facilitated by Karl Bates, Director of Research Communications with Duke University’s Office of News & Communications and a science journalist with over 25 years of experience writing about science/technology and training scientists to communicate.

How long are our science communication workshops?

Training workshops and consultations range from a one-hour session to day-long or even multi-day training. It depends entirely on the needs of your department, program or institution. When you contact us, we will discuss your goals and work together to determine the format/length that would best serve you, based on the topics you would like to cover.

What is expected of a host institution, center or department?

All hosts will be asked to do the following:

  • Identify a point-of-contact for dealing with planning and logistics of the training.
  • Cover any necessary travel expenses (transportation, food, lodging, airport transfer/parking) for each trainer.
  • Provide an honorarium ($3,000 for half-day, $5,000 for full-day). For shorter sessions, or in cases where institutions are unable to cover this, contact us and we will explore possible alternatives.
  • Cover all logistics and expenses associated with workshop promotion and registration, facility reservation, AV (as per the needs of the trainer) and any catering arrangements.