News from the National Academy of Sciences

July 14, 2017

NAS Announces Awards for Building Capacity for Science Communication Partnerships

Washington, DC - In an effort to encourage innovative approaches to building productive public engagement with science, the National Academy of Sciences, with support from the Rita Allen Foundation, is pleased to announce recipients of two Building Capacity for Science Communication Partnership Awards.  These competitive awards of $37,500 each will support partnerships of science communication researchers and practitioners and facilitate a collaborative project.  The award recipients will present their projects at a special session of the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication III, to be held Nov. 16 and 17 in Washington, D.C.

The two teams and projects 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.

The Colloquium will focus on the 2017 National Academies consensus study report, Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda, as a framework for advancing both research and practice in science communication. Participants 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.  The Science of Science Communication colloquium series began in 2012 with a survey the state of the art of empirical social science research in science communication.  The second colloquium in 2013 examined the challenges surrounding communicating about science that involves controversy and was an important impetus for the 2017 report.

The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership.

The Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia address scientific topics of broad and current interest that cut across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. These colloquia are made possible by a generous gift from Jill Sackler in memory of her husband, Arthur M. Sackler.

Additional support for the upcoming colloquium is provided by The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania; Science Sandbox – a Simons Foundation initiative; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; The Kavli Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine — provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Molly Galvin, Senior Media Relations Officer
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail
Twitter: @theNASciences
Colloquium hashtag: #SacklerSciComm

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