Making research relevant to the media, policymakers

Kevin Sliman
August 24, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For scientists who dedicate years of time, energy and resources to their research, they can find that sharing their knowledge through the media can be challenging. To help researchers improve their science communications, the Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) and the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center will host a plenary featuring four national journalists. The plenary will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in Pike Auditorium (22 Biobehavioral Health Building). The event is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session and a reception will follow the plenary.

The event will provide faculty, graduate students and other members of the Penn State community as well as the public with a behind-the-scenes look at the changing world of journalism. Leading journalists will discuss how the media is changing and what it means for communicating science to the public and policymakers.

“Many of our faculty and students are passionate about their research and are eager to apply it in ways that help society,” said Tom Richard, director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. “In today's high-paced, teleconnected world, effective communication strategies are critical to reaching the audiences who care about our work.”

He added that this event is an opportunity for researchers to learn from nationally renowned journalists and media professionals on how to better translate their data and knowledge into positive impacts.

“These are powerful skills for getting your message across, regardless of whether your audiences are students, policymakers and the public, or colleagues, reviewers and collaborators,” Richard said.

The journalists attending are Nancy Shute, National Public Radio; Bob Marshall, Times-Picayune and The Lens; Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor; and Ashley Smart, Physics Today.

The Science Communications Plenary is a part of science communications training being provided by IEE, which includes a graduate student workshop on Oct. 4.

COMPASS is an organization that was founded to help scientists share their knowledge in a way that effectively communicates their message to the general public but doesn’t compromise the accuracy of the science.

IEE is one of seven interdisciplinary research institutes at Penn State. It fosters and facilitates interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration to positively impact important energy and environmental challenges. IEE brings together more than 500 extraordinary faculty, staff and students to advance the energy and environmental research missions of the University.

The Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center is an international leader in prevention science. Its focus is on improving the health and well-being of children, families and communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The center’s mission is to ensure well-validated research findings are used to create sustainable programs and policies that will promote the well-being and healthy development of children and families everywhere.

For more information on the event and to register, please visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 25, 2017