ASCB is seeking to expand leadership in science outreach, including science literacy for the public and advocacy/public policy by providing funding and support for scientists with bold ideas to engage their communities in the process of science.

ASCB is seeking to:

  • Help scientists reach public audiences to build trust in scientists and increase appreciation and understanding of science.
  • Enable scientists to undertake a significant pilot/case study to become competitive for funding from other sources to sustain and even expand their project.
  • Support scientists who may want to transition to a career in public engagement or increase the professionalism of their approach to engaging the public.
  • Provide mentoring and networking opportunities to scientists who want to expand their public engagement work.

ASCB hopes to offer another round of funding in 2019.

Project DescriptionApplication Process/SelectionTimeline2018 Finalists

The ASCB Public Engagement Grants will provide funding, mentoring, and project assessment directly to ASCB members interested in engaging with their community and gaining experience in public outreach. At the core of the program are grants of up to $35,000 to pay for materials and supplies, marketing, and salary for public engagement projects. We expect most grants to be in the $10,000 – $35,000 range. We selected this amount as being large enough to support the time and materials necessary to create significant pilot projects that in turn could become competitive for even more substantial funding. These grants can be thought of as bridge funds to help individuals move from completely homegrown efforts to fully funded efforts. These funds will be paid directly to successful applicants; no indirect costs are allowed.

In addition to grant funding, ASCB will provide all grantees with a suite of benefits that will help them be successful in their projects. One of the challenges for scientists entering the public engagement sphere is lack of support and knowledge. As a scientific society, ASCB has experience in providing networking and professional development opportunities for our members. We will use this experience to build a program that will help the grantees by providing assessment, mentoring, networking, and professional development.

First, ASCB will provide grantees access to a centralized evaluator, the Lifelong Learning Group (LLG), to help advise them as they develop their evaluation approach.

Second, to help grantees further their public engagement knowledge and practice, ASCB will identify and connect them with mentors who have expertise in a relevant public engagement modality and can provide advice and guidance. The mentoring will occur through phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Once we have connected the grantees with their mentors we will provide travel funds to enable them to meet in person.

Third, we will provide opportunities for networking. We will provide travel funds to attend both the ASCB Annual Meeting and a science communications meeting or training program (e.g., International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC), the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), or the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, as well as others). We will also encourage the awardees to present their plans and progress as part of the career enhancement programming at the meeting.

We will connect the aforementioned groups via a private group on LinkedIn, which will also be used to disseminate information relevant to the group.

Applicants will submit 1) a short, less than 5-page proposal (11 point Times New Roman, 0.5″ margins). The proposal must contain the following sections: a) target audience, b) project plan, d) proposed impact, d) timeline, and e) applicant’s career goals. 2) Applicants must also download this budget and budget justification sheet, fill out all required fields, and upload them on the application site. 3) You must also upload a short bio, CV, or resume that lists your relevant public outreach experience. The application site will be open from January 18 until March 31 midnight Eastern.

NOTE: You must be or become an ASCB member. More info/Join here.

Your membership will become active on the next business day after you apply, so be sure to apply for membership well before the application deadline. If you cannot apply before the deadline because of your membership status please email Thea Clarke to let her know.

A review panel will select grantees on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Prior work and experience (Does the grantee have a track record of accomplishing a related project at a smaller scale?)
  • Impact on audiences with a preference for with underserved audiences (Will the project have a positive impact on the community it is trying to reach?)
  • Innovation (Is the project novel?)
  • Engagement approach (Has the grantee thought about how to work with the community rather than involving the community only as an audience?)
  • Likelihood of success (Do the project and budget seem realistic? Is the grantee prepared to accomplish the project they describe?).

All applications will be judged on their individual merits. In the case of a tie, priority will be given to graduate students and postdocs. Applicants must be or become ASCB members.

Questions? Contact Thea Clarke at

January – March 31, 2018

  • Application open on ASCB website

April – May 2018

  • Applicant review, selection, and notification of successful grantees
  • Identification and recruitment of mentors

June 2018

  • Grantees start projects

July – November 2018

  • Grantees continue work on projects
  • Grantees identify and potentially attend science communication conference or course.
  • Grantees visit with mentors

December 2018

  • Grantees attend 2018 ASCB|EMBO Meeting in San Diego, CA, Dec. 8-12
    • Networking reception and lecture
    • Grantees present their work

January – March 2019

  • Grantees complete projects

April – June 2019

  • Grantees submit final report
Quyen Aoh
The Feeding Minds and Families program will be an after-school, STEM outreach program at Strong Vincent Middle School in Erie, Pennsylvania that brings together Gannon University faculty, staff and community partners to encourage interest in STEM and STEM-related careers. Through this program, students will learn about STEM through interactive, hands-on activities followed by family meal gatherings with local leaders in the STEM fields.
Lorena Benedetti
The Flipped Science Fair flips the traditional science fair format on its head: middle school student judges will evaluate graduate students and postdocs presenting their current research. Middle school students learn about cutting-edge research from real scientists in a small-group setting, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Through workshops and individualized coaching, presenters learn how to tailor their research pitch to a general audience, with emphasis on keeping things exciting, understandable, and relevant.
Molly Gordon
“Science Outside the Lines” is a science and arts integration afterschool program that works with third and fourth grade students in the Baltimore City area. Using art as a non-intimidating platform to teach and share science, we use interactive projects using media such as paints, ceramics, ink, and mix-media to re-inforce concepts taught within the Baltimore City Public School STEM curriculum. We work with a local non-profit, Art With a Heart, to develop these interactive lessons, which are executed by graduate students and post-docs at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Briana Gregg
The Young Scientist Program at UC Davis is piloting a new extension of their K-12 science education outreach program called Stockton CAN (Close the Achievement Gap Now). Overall, our mission is to increase access to science enrichment activities for socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority students. Through Stockton CAN, we will establish an after-school science club at a Tier 1 elementary school in Stockton, CA. Students will benefit from peer-mentorship and immersive, hands-on science activities while preparing for the San Joaquin County Science Olympiad.
Daniel Kramer
Scientific education is vital for teaching students how to think critically and develop the right questions. This depends on early, consistent scientific exposure and confident teachers. To improve elementary scientific education, we have developed a program in Berkeley, CA, that increases hands on scientific lessons and demonstrates to teachers how to approach science demonstrations by having a team of graduate students visit the same school and classrooms to run NGSS driven scientific experiments throughout the school year.
Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko
The Canadian Association for Girls In Science (CAGIS) is a volunteer-run science club for girls aged 7-16. Chapters hold monthly events where they bring girls to the workplaces of women and men in STEM fields to do fun, hands-on activities. The grant will be used to modernize and increase the organizational efficiency of CAGIS, create a new website and stronger online presence, and secure long-term funding.
Michael Wolyniak
The Prince Edward County Environmental Molecular Biology Institute (PECEMBI) seeks to build a student research network between the undergraduate students of Hampden-Sydney College and Longwood University and the life science high school students of a 6-county region of rural central Virginia (Appomattox, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Nottaway, Prince Edward). Undergraduates at both Hampden-Sydney and Longwood will be mentored by faculty on the best approaches to bring long-term authentic research experiences to the classrooms of rural central Virginia schools that in many cases consist of a majority of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM disciplines. The undergraduates will receive invaluable professional development experiences in mentoring and outreach while the high schools will gain access to research experiences not often available to schools such as these with limited resources.

Funded by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation