Science Communication Resources

IMG_6854Interested in sharing your science more widely? Whether you’re new to science communication, or looking for some fresh ideas, here are some programs from BEACON and beyond. This list will be kept up to date and is not exhaustive. If you have corrections or additions, please email

Some recent columns in Nature on why and how to get your work out there:

For BEACON Members:


Share your work right here on the BEACON Blog! We feature regular posts from BEACON researchers (including faculty, post-docs, grad students, and undergrads) describing their work. These posts should be around 800-1000 words, and written in a non-technical way that would be easily understood by an undergraduate non-major. Ideally, the posts should also include a personal element, describing your experience or why you are interested in your research topic. The goal is not only to communicate BEACON research to the public, but also to connect faces and personalities to that research. We recommend that you avoid including unpublished results in your post. You may want to have your faculty adviser or collaborators read over your post before submission. Contact Travis Hagey ( to choose a date for publishing your post.

Data Nuggets

Data Nuggets ( are an innovative approach to bring authentic research and data into the classroom, revealing to students how the process of science really works and increasing the connections between scientists and the public. Data Nuggets are created from cutting-edge scientific research and include real, messy, scientific data. The goal of Data Nuggets is to engage students in the practices of science through an innovative approach that combines scientific content from authentic research with key concepts in quantitative reasoning.

Data Nuggets is currently accepting submissions from scientists interested in sharing their research and data with students! By creating a Data Nugget, you will improve your communications skills, share your research with a broad audience, and increase your broader impacts. We would be happy to host your Data Nugget on our website and can provide page analytics and teacher feedback to share with funding agencies. To learn more, check out our page for scientists here ( or get started by downloading our template here ( If you have any questions, feel free to contact Liz ( or Melissa (

Resources at BEACON Institutions

Press Releases (All Institutions)

All universities love to share information about the great work happening at their institution! If you’ve got a new publication or other news you’d like to share, don’t be shy – contact your institutional media office. The media office will want to release the information on the same day your paper is published, so contact them early. The best time to do so is when your paper is accepted.

At MSU, BEACONites primarily work with Layne Cameron If you need help getting started, you can also contact BEACON’s Managing Director, Danielle Whittaker (

MSU Communications & Brand Strategy Workshops

Communications Toolkit for Academics: 

Registration is now open for Communicating Beyond Journals and Peers:  A Communications Workshop for Academics presented by Communications and Brand Strategy and the Media Sandbox (a division of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences).

The workshop will provide an in-depth look at the value of communicating your research and scholarly work in a succinct and public manner, as well as providing new tools and hands-on exercises to help you refine your communications skills. Topics will include: academic benefits to communicating publicly, using shared language, completing the Message Box, storytelling, working with the media, writing for The Conversation and more.

Class size will be limited to 20 participants and each workshop will run approximately 3 hours to allow adequate discussion and activity time. Academics from any area on campus are invited to participate as content is beneficial to those who work in all disciplines.

Registration will remain open until all classes have filled. Exact location of the workshops is still TBD and will be sent to you closer to the dates along with additional information and preparation materials. Registration is here:

MSU Communicating Science Seminar

Communicating Science Seminar: First meeting

Weds Jan 11th 1:30-3pm

MPS1050 (across from the auditorium in molecular plant sciences)

Course objective: To broaden students (& postdoc/faculty!) abilities to communicate science to diverse (non-science) audiences, including the general public and policy-makers. We will explore current approaches to science communication and work to develop skills in written and verbal (and potentially video) communication. This should include your ability to communicate your own science as well as “controversial” topics such as Evolution and Climate Change.

Leaders: Aaron Garoutte, Sheril Kirshenbaum, Maren Friesen

MSU Outreach Opportunities

  • The MSU Outreach and Engagement Department has tons of engagement and training information.
  • Also check out the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies page Under the Community Outreach and Engagement text, there is a long list of “resources available for engaging the community and developing broader impact strategies. These groups have the experience, partnerships and infrastructure to help translate, educate, and communicate your research to the public.”
  • Write a Michigan State University Faculty Voice post! Contact Layne Cameron
  • MSU scientists and students take part in Darwin Discovery Day to share their expertise and love of science with the public. Activities, tours and university science collections are featured throughout the MSU Museum. If you are interested in participating, contact Louise Mead (
  • The MSU Science Festival is a multi-day series of events that highlight the fascinating, though oft overlooked, fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (a.k.a. STEAM). The Festival features talks, demonstrations, tours, open houses, guest speakers, hands-on activities, and much more! You will have the opportunity to explore the latest in cutting edge science; discover concepts that have been influencing new discoveries for centuries; exchange ideas with researchers; and participate first-hand in experiments that turn ideas into reality. BEACON has a booth every year. If you are interested in participating, contact Louise Mead (
  • Mentor a undergraduate student from a underrepresented group as part of the MSU Student Research Opportunities Program If interested, contact Judi Brown Clarke at
  • Run a booth at a local elementary school science night. Contact Louise Mead at
  • Plant Fascination Day The Fascination of Plants Day is a worldwide event and will take place on May 18. Dr. Bjoern Hamberger (and his lab) in collaboration with the MSU media communication team are planning to have the first Plant Fascination day event organized at MSU (and probably the first in the USA this year!) on May 18, 2017.
    MSU graduate/undergraduate students, postdocs, and faculty can volunteer to help demonstrate fascinating plant related experiments/observations. The audience will be the public (with no science/plant science background) as well as students from schools and high schools (people who don’t study plants, but might get fascinated). Please contact Aparajita if you are interested to participate in this event.
  • University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF)
    The Undergraduate Research Office is currently seeking graduate students, postdocs, and research specialists to volunteer as evaluators at the upcoming University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) on April 7, 2017. If you have questions, please contact the Undergraduate Research Office by email at or by phone at 517-884-4384.

University of Idaho Outreach Opportunities

UT Austin Outreach Opportunties

  • A collection of outreach opportunities at UT can be found here:
  • UTeach Outreach is a program housed in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. The program aims to change the world, one future scientist, mathematician, and engineer at a time. UTeach Outreach strives to inspire students to take an active interest in STEM and to make our parents and teachers better scientific educators. UTeach Outreach is a branch of UTeach, the premiere university-based secondary STEM teacher preparation program that prepares university students to become science,technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers.
  • Sign up for the  Austin Science Advocates (and @SciActionATX) newsletter which focuses on pubic engagement and policy.


AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science & Technology

The American Association for the Advancement of Science offers free online tools to improve your ability to communicate with journalists and the public. They also offer workshops and seminars:

American Institute of Biological Sciences

Interested in communicating science to policymakers? AIBS has a great set of resources to help you get started, and can help you arrange a visit with your Congressional representatives.

Atlas of Science

Write an Atlas of Science layman’s summary about one of your publications! Atlas of Science provides the opportunity for scientists to write and publish a short and accessible summary (Layman summary) of their latest research. The summaries should be based on peer-reviewed articles.

Darwin Day Roadshow

The Darwin Day Roadshow is a way for scientists and educators to share their enthusiasm for evolutionary science with students, teachers and the general public across the United States each year, on the occasion of Charles Darwin’s birthday (February 12th). Learn more at

Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy (ESEP)

The Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Coalition is an ad hoc alliance of organizations that have joined together to empower scientists and engineers to effectively engage in the policy making process at all levels of government (federal, state and local). ESEP serves as a resource one-stop-shop, a communication forum, networking opportunity and as an engagement vehicle for science & technology policy stakeholders.

National Academy of Sciences

Materials and videos from two colloquia on science communication:

National Alliance for Broader Impacts

Check out the National Alliance for Broader Impacts website. The goal of NABI is to create a community of practice that fosters the development of sustainable and scalable institutional capacity and engagement in broader impacts activity.

Portal to the Public

The Portal to the Public framework has been implemented at over 50 organizations that form the Portal to the Public Network (PoPNet), a community of practitioners dedicated to sharing ideas and strategies for scientist-and-public engagement. Through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Science Foundation, PoPNet has expanded to a range of informal science settings including science centers, museums, universities, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and research organizations.


Ask questions, answer questions, even host an “Ask Me Anything” session about being a scientist.


Science Cafés

Looking for something a little more informal? Science Cafés are events that take place in casual settings such as pubs and coffeehouses, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Science Cafés represent a grassroots movement. They exist all over the world and can vary from place to place. Venues range from a local library or coffee house to a neighborhood bar. Even the names of Science Cafés vary, including Science on Tap, Science Pub, Ask a Scientist, and Café Sci. Check out this site to find a Science Café near you – or start your own!

The Greensboro Science Cafe is run by BEACON’s own Randall Hayes, and they are always looking for speakers, local or visiting!

The EEBB graduate group at MSU runs a science-cafe style event called Biology on Tap. Biology is best with beer! Free monthly events featuring fun & informal presentations by local researchers and biologists.

Social Media

Twitter is a great medium for #scicomm, and anyone can do it. Here’s a list of science-related Twitter accounts you might like to follow to get you started:

(Want to be added to the list? Just let us know!)

Society for the Study of Evolution – Evolution Film Festival

Make a film for Evolution 2017!

Society for the Study of Evolution Small Grants Program for Local and Regional Outreach Promoting the Understanding of Evolutionary Biology

A call for proposals for support for local and regional educational outreach activities

Wikipedia editing

Another way to contribute is to edit Wikipedia pages on your areas of expertise! Here’s how to get started:

Get Out The SCIENCE (#GOTScience) 
To inspire and educate the public about the value and wonder of science.


The flagship award-winning education program of the Ecological Society of America. Its mission is to diversify and advance the ecology profession through opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students to participate, and to lead in ecology.

Society for Freshwater Science Instars program

Instars, a mentoring program sponsored by the Society for Freshwater Science, is an opportunity for undergraduate students from under-represented groups who are interested in the study of freshwaters. The program also provides opportunities for networking among graduate students, faculty and professionals hoping to encourage diversity in our discipline.

Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness Campaign

Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness events are limited only by your imagination. Consider open houses at neuroscience labs, exhibitions about the brain, lectures on brain-related topics, displays at libraries and community centers, classroom workshops, and more.

Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Coalition

The Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Coalition is an ad hoc alliance of organizations that have joined together to empower scientists and engineers to effectively engage in the policy making process at all levels of government (federal, state and local). ESEP serves as a resource one-stop-shop, a communication forum, networking opportunity and as an engagement vehicle for science & technology policy stakeholders.

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