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The Science of Science Communication III (SSCIII)
Inspiring Novel Collaborations and Building Capacity

November 16-17, 2017; Washington, D.C.
Organized by Karen Cook, Stanford University; Baruch Fischhoff, Carnegie Mellon University; Alan Leshner, American Association for the Advancement of Science (Emeritus); and Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin–Madison


The National Academy of Sciences Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia on the Science of Science Communication began in 2012 with an effort to survey the state of the art of empirical social science research in science communication and focused on the communication dynamics surrounding issues in science, engineering, and medicine. The second colloquium highlighted the particular challenges with communicating about science that involves controversy, and was an important impetus for the consensus study report Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda. Evolving from past colloquia, this third colloquium will focus on the consensus study as a framework for advancing both research and practice in science communication. It will explore ways to build capacity for and foster the use of evidence-based strategies for engaging the public with science and ensuring its appropriate use. Additional support for the Colloquium is provided by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, the Rita Allen Foundation, Science Sandbox – a Simons Foundation initiative, the William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Kavli Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Penn State Science Communication Program.

Partnership Awards

With support from the Rita Allen Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences is pleased to offer two awards of $37,500 each to bring the vision for robust science communication research closer to fruition. These awards support the formation and development of partnerships of science communication researchers and practitioners and facilitate their efforts to plan collaborative projects that pursue shared research interests aligned with the report. Those receiving awards will present details about their collaborations at a special session of the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication III.

Two teams and projects received these awards. They are (with principal investigators [PI] first, and co-PIs in alphabetical order):
Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College (PI)
Bridget Ahrens, Vermont Department of Health
Christine Finley, Vermont Department of Health
D.J. Flynn, Dartmouth College
Shari Levine, Vermont Department of Health
Evaluating New Approaches to Promoting Vaccination
Little is known about how to effectively promote vaccines to hesitant parents. In this project, researchers from Dartmouth College and practitioners from the Vermont Department of Health will carry out a field experiment to study the effect of messages about immunization on parents’ beliefs and vaccination decisions.

Elizabeth Suhay, American University (PI)
Emily Cloyd, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Erin Heath, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Erin Nash, Durham University
Evidence-based Science Communication to Policymakers
This project will examine the communication and use of science within the policymaking arena. Researchers will integrate existing scholarly literature with new empirical findings from a survey of science communicators, case studies of science-relevant legislating, and qualitative interviews with policymakers to propose a set of best practices for presenting science to policy makers.

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