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 January 2020.
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.