The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have collaborated on a portfolio of communication guidelines, resources and tools to help scientists to bridge the gap between their research and their communities.
Elisha Wood-Charlson, communications project manager for UH Mānoa’s Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE), worked with UCS Outreach Associate Melissa Varga to create a communication-training guide that will help researchers transform their work into a communications plan that is more accessible for local audiences. The Science Communication Portfolio contains an introductory section on defining communication goals and understanding the audience. It also presents several modules on practical topics such as how to create talking points for a media interview and how to craft a post for social media.
One example of UH research profiled in an example portfolio is a three-minute video featuring Phil Thompson, associate director at the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Level Center sharing his knowledge about Pacific sea level change. He explains that during recent decades, strong trade winds blowing east to west have minimized sea level rise in the Eastern Pacific. It is possible, however, that this wind pattern will shift or weaken in the future, and sea levels will begin to rise faster along the west coast of the U.S. At the end of the video, Thompson emphasizes the need to maintain a healthy dialog between science and managers—to ensure that these coastal communities are prepared for a possible increase in sea level change over coming decades.
Download the training guide and example portfolios. The materials are also available from UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology website as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists page for Tips and Tools for Science Communicators. You can also follow this conversation on twitter #scicommfolio.
—By Kelli Trifonovitch