#NASinterface day two: Where to invest?
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.
The National Academies invites you to join leaders from the life sciences community and from research organizations to explore the current landscape of public communication of the life sciences. The workshop will address the many challenges life science professionals face, including intellectual property issues in industry, policy restrictions in government, and incentives and adequate support structures at the university level, as well as new opportunities and models of communications.
Or, if you have a lot of time on your hands, watch the Day 1 presentations
Back for the 2nd day, the crowd in the room is smaller, but Brooke tells us there are lot of folks online
Braving the weather today to be back at for the belated Day 2 of
start us off recalling what happened on 1st day last year
Recap from science and practice perspectives by and , experts in research and practice.
passionate scientists often don’t have institutional support for , reminds us: altruism not sustainable.
Summaries comunications efforts at 3 different levels- individual, institutional, community practice.
“Altruism is not a sustainable model for scicomm”
. research shows extrinsic rewards are not a factor in scientists engaging. maybe bc they don’t really exist?
summaries research – scientists mainly motivated by intrinsic reward – extrinsic factors may be benign
research gives insight about how to communicate, but not how to change from deficit model to engagement.
. research shows scientists focus on providing information, neglect (as important) need to build trust with audience
asks how to distinguish promoting science from promoting institution? important but tough in monitoring .
challenges institutions to think about whether they are educating abt science or educating abt their institution
. notes that in , policies of “better safe than sorry” aren’t cutting it.
.: “Should be willing to be more sorry than safe from time to time”
institutions should not have a “better safe than sorry” attitude towards communication
is the lack of a community of practice of life science communications holding back scaling?
Having moved through different science communication fields have seen the fragmentation of the communication field
In practice, science communications is disconnected from the literature about effective science communications
love seeing and model connecting research and practice in .
We need to define the value proposition for individuals and institutions who do
Follow for updates from (when she’s not speaking)
research shows us a lot of ideas, but not a lot about how to implement them. this is a big challenge.
We need to define the ROI on , the AWESOME panel at is tackling now from philanthropy, NSF, Congress, white house.
John Burris discusses history of , started w/ “publish in a journal” or at lectures (back to 1825) We have come far. .
John Burris walking us through 150 years of science communication from Faraday lectures through Sputnik
Burris shares post sputnik done and funded through newspapers and magazines.
John Burris: “Sports will always trump science” in the pages of a newspaper
John Burris just gave a shout out to museums! Great places to learn about science.
John Burris of there is no evidence that blog of today will be important in the future
Does increased communication about science lead to increased funding – anybody got a reference for this?
thanks for the shout out John Burris , we do need more communicationtrainings like !
David Malakoff – Bigger science audience than ever before but less $$ out there to reach them – solutions?
is society investing enough in ? Burris says it’s not money, we need more structure (need $ for structure?)
Do we invest enough in ? As would say, $ is a pathway not a roadblock.
easy to say there is a lack of $ in , what would we even spend it on?
House staffer Alan Slobodin discussing NIH comms spending
alan slobodin notes that it’s asking about if we spend enough $ on , is not the right question. we won’t have more.
Is the question for are we spending *enough* on scicomm, or whether we are spending what we have wisely?
Dennis S. Monday Night Science – love the concept
Discussion about funding focusing on priorities
What institutional barriers are keeping life scientists from communicating to the public abt their work?
Dennis Schatz says understanding of core competencies in science communication & building infrastructure are key
Kei Koizumi OSTP tells the federal investment in scicomm is not known. No data on scicomm as a discrete activity.
Should funding be a line-item in federal budget? Is it possible to quantify otherwise?
Kei Koizumi is not a line item – so we don’t know what we are spending but we do support it
Kei Koizumi (OSTP): can’t say if we spend enough on , it’s not a bucket we fund, we have no idea how much we do spend
Will we ever know how much we invest in ? I get it is really complex, but would be really nice to know something.
Kei Koizumi reminds us that US invests $450 Billion in research. 2/3 is private, 1/3 is gov’t.
Around 11am EST our Mary Woolley will be moderating a discussion on audience engagement . Webcast here:
Kei Koizumi – US spending on R&D = $450B 2/3 private, 1/3 public = no way tell budget for communicating about this
. supports .05% of the national research budget! role of philanthropy is important.
Kai Lee @PackardFoundation shout out to for their messaging, impact, and funding success
Kai Lee of @PackardFoundation “we are trying to increase the supply of scientists who are communicating”
. is trying to increase supply of scientists that want to communicate. tries to increase demand.
how we spend $ on is really about ‘bang for the buck’, still haven’t heard what that BANG is.
Slobodin: Is comm funding central to institutional mission? My take: communication is THE ESSENCE of science
Alan Slobodin of House Energy and Commerce Committee discusses why and how investigating NIH spending.
Amanda Stanley on difficulty of evaluating : we are running uncontrolled experiments, so it’s hard. Stories are good.
Amanda Stanley funding dilemma “you make the choice between doing versus knowing what your doing works”
Kai Lee – “Gag Order” in NGO and Academic world, don’t communicate things that hurt the development of your organization .
Kai Lee @PackardFoundation Interested in success but also minimizing success of anti efforts. Interesting thought
panel at confirms that evaluation of is thin. can’t tell if folks think this okay or not – thoughts?
Dennis Schatz of you need to know what failures are too. That seems like a hard argument to make with funders.
Dennis Schatz Important to fund risky efforts and to document failures
Schatz: “If every grant we fund is working, we’re not doing our job. That would mean we’re not pushing the envelop.”
Dennis Schatz website is source of evidence of what is working- check out the evidence wiki
“If you don’t make mistakes, you are not trying hard enough” – David Packard
David Malakoff asserts that largely happens bc of an agenda. and different ones.
Kei Koizumi sees specific science being communicated around agenda, but lacking comms around Science (not cap “S”).
Dennis Schatz: How does fund ? Includes ISE, Broader Impacts portion of grants, and scicomm research (at least)
Amanda Stanley and Kai Lee – foundation world trying to bring balance to science conversations for issues they care about.
BIG difference btwn sci informing vs agendas looking for sci agrees my thoughts here
Slobodin says the existing fiscal situation is impacting what selects for
share your questions about funding at , we’ll get ’em to the panel.
If $ concerns stop good at federal agencies, how will that impact society and societal discussions about science?
Mary Woolley of makes argument that essential to scientific enterprise
. challenges the funding panel: haven’t heard the words value or accountability.
. is there necessity for scientists to explain the value their work. Shouldn’t there be accountability?
Mary Woolley of asks if science communications is a key for accountability to public for science they fund.
Is science communication part of the accountability to the public for funding of scientists? Q from Mary
Kei Koizumi: is fundamental to science, should be part of all science funding.
#1 reason I value the world is changing, sci knows a lot about how and why, needs to be at the table for smart living
Kei Koizumi of compares between funding comm. of agriculture research to farmers to to public.
Kei Koizumi restates my favorite saying “if we don’t invest in , we’re not maximizing our investment in sci. at all”
+1 : Kei Koizumi: is fundamental to science, should be part of all science funding.
On Being a Scientist : S&T are integral parts of society, scientists can’t be isolated from societal concerns.
Can or should distinguish between “educate,” “inform,” and “advocate”?
. pushes us on Amanda Stanley’s point: is there a demand side of ? we haven’t shown it.
The *purpose* of is not to increase funding of science.
Andrew Rosenberg of , the purpose of life science is to help life/society be better, not for getting more $.
Should audience demand drive efforts? I think it’s a positive regardless
. brings up good point Who is our audience and perhaps more importantly – is there an audience?
Kei Koizumi : “There’s a willingness to engage among our citizens. 2 way communication model instead of 1 way.”
E. Goldman : chicken&egg prob: can we build infrastruc for w/o data, or do we need data first?
Yes & yes, IMO. “: Can or should distinguish between “educate,” “inform,” and “advocate”? ”
Can you really comm. science without communicating who is doing it? There is a balance between the 2, not mutually exclusive.
Even PR efforts can be about educating the public and being transparent about the use of tax dollars.
“Is there a way that smaller foundations can work w/ federal agencies to build infrastructure?” [I hope so!]
Amanda S observes that NSF broader impacts roll not accompanied by infrastructure as compared to data management roll out
Amanda Stanley: Broader Impacts req = data sharing req w/o a data sharing platform. Can funders work together to fix it?
If private funding is 2/3 of R&D funding, we need to know more (amount, goal, etc.) about private funding for
. wkshp on Sustainable Infrastructures for Life Science Communication is restarting w/ audience engagement. Join us
White board and post-it time! My favorite part of any meeting 🙂
If u have enough $ for , what top 3 things would u invest in?
. at asks us about what needs to be funded. Five minute break for silent toughs on video (sound is not broken!)
wants to know! What would you invest in, in the infrastructure?
. asks, is it easy or hard to come up with only 3 top things u would invest in for life science .
William Provine of DuPont – where are the industry scientists/professionals? Any watching online?
A propos of science communication; more scientists can tweet but you can’t make people read the tweets.
Lots of ideas from around the room! Fund research budgets, sci journalism programs, training programs w/ scioscicomm embedded
The greatest# of retweets I’ve had to date, e.g., was not for a science news story–it was for a dung beetle joke…
Moral–you can lead a horse fly to water but you can’t make her oviposit (I’m betting this one won’t be retweeted)…
I was lucky enough to teach a course called “Public Understanding of Science” for Bioanth grad students. So valuable.
54% of 18-22yo undergrads in my research don’t regularly engage w/ science-based media (TV, websites, blogs, print).
It was a one-time survey of 486 students, conducted online. No longitudinal data, unfortunately.
MT fund more DIY bio labs like
MT fund radio content ( & in steroids)
MT fund mass media venues & have permanent pay position/fellowship 4 scientists
funding themes: more training for , boundary orgs to connect scientists, activities for scientist engage in K-12
more funding themes: sci journalism, rebrand science, CSI for science, community dialogues with science
And 1 funding themes: reward systems for
my top 3 investments: 1) communications trainings, 2) more boundary orgs, and 3) $ prizes for scientist communicators
Re: investments- Fund opps for scientists to do (& learn how to do) more public science (involve public in research)
1 person put all coins in 1 bucket: “Somebody has to fund it.” If u don’t know the landscape of what’s funded, how to ID gaps?
Hope to see those following/attending at next month in Chicago to continue discussion.
Starting the workshop discussions again.
22 people participated in the “where would u spend your dollars” exercise. Everyone had 10 coins. 1 coin = 10cents.
Top investment opportunity for is (drum roll) comms training for scientists! received more than 2x votes than others
The runners up for investments are boundary orgs and scientist engage in K-12 eduction at
are we really talking about sustainable R&D when we talk about sustainable infrastructure?
Bill Provine from Dupont already invests in scientists as communicators, industry invests in people.
Bill Provine of Dupont – Begins that in industry centers around “the right to operate”, how they benefit society
Bill Provine of Dupont – what industry looks for from efforts is impact & partnership development across boundaries.
Bill Provine of DuPont “the more you can scale something, the more interesting it will be to industry,”
Amanda Stanley: Q- when deciding what 2 fund, what problem are u trying 2 solve? As a funder, she starts w/ problem statements
. raises good point. when talking about “boundary organizations” include sci societies that perform these functions
. top items that r’cvd most votes are what does, and it’s hard to fundraise for them. Scary
. A robust education system that creates demand for science & hence science communication is important.
Bill Provine notes difference btwn doing for the greater good vs a specific goal.
. of NAS: there is considerable effort to reform K-12 ed, so if choosing to invest in , chose other areas
should not be investing in K-12 BUT we need to recognize there is no audience development for science w/o it
Amanda Stanley: Foundations are issue driven. Will foundations, NGOs, industry, shift to science 1st is a big question
Andy Rosenberg notes that people often assume the science process happens and is “fine”.
Definitely enjoying the actual round table discussion here at !
few foundations invest in science and , they look to it when they need it.
. asks everyone, where do we go from here? what are our marching orders?
. reminds us that culture change IS happening. we have moved past scientists being punished if the engage.
If you’re interested in esp how it’s funded, be sure to watch the conversation. Livestream:
. notes there are good culture changes happening. Urges us to have a outlook.
points out Deficit Model approach to by communicators. Shouldn’t we be listening to our own advice?
. let’s appreciate we know a lot more (research) than we ever have. Now we need to figure out what to do w/ it.
NICE summary and ways forward. And optimism. thank you.
Andy Rosenberg of notes cultural change in how scientists see themselves. Next gen scientists want 2 engage w/ society
Rosenberg: We shouldn’t assume the integrity of science in terms of being open, transparent, & special interest free
Andrew Rosenberg argues scientific process is at risk. But how to comm. process to public that can’t discern validity?
Rosenberg: Much info out there masquerades as science in , and we should model sci process in determining credibility.
. Good point. Contrarian views versus psedo-science gets blurred in social media.
. there are many goals. But how do we distinguish b/w them to answer “where do we go from here?”
nails the problem with broad “.” Motivations must be aligned with methods.
Do we want to build a ground-up or top-down infrastructure? Top-down might overwhelm currently successful local efforts
Rcvd via email: Good in a crisis like WV H2O contamination is needed. Reporters discussing MSDS’s is not helpful.
Part 2 of email: Until better infrastructure 4 in crisis like WV, it’s not serving the public to extent needed.
plug for by bc we need to better connected across a community to find a whole.
Agree with Storksdieck, but I think there’s lack of clarity in which objectives “Science of Scicomm” is intended to achieve.
Bill Provine – if there’s no concrete result where we place investment, the infrastructure we create will not be sustainable
. emphasizes with investment in infrastructure need parallel investments in evaluation
. raises point that rank and file scientists are missing from this conversation.
Awesome point . Move away from “some shouldn’t communicate” to “communication is part of being a scientist”.
Kathryn Foxhall says, often the scientists who are not good communicators are best sources for information for reporters
as an example of infrastructure – as red line rider not sure I am buying her whole comparison
DC folks complain so much about metro. It doesn’t work perfectly. But I’m glad we have it. Beats walking.
. notes we need a little more clarity about what our goals are, but we agree on some infrastructure mechanisms.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for today’s workshop on !
thanks to and everyone who joined our discussion today. inspiring, but lots to do!
i missed you in person today, but thanks for engaging via . See you in Chicago – good luck making it happen!
Missed you in person today Jamie. Appreciated your engaging here, more on soon? Would love your take.
Hated to miss it. Was in & out due to heavy workload. Glad to see roundtable arriving at critical questions.
and , thank YOU for making a reality. applause. applause.