The SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) aims to shift the paradigm of science communication training and create a more representative suite of academic science communicators. The SCIP fellowship is designed to test a training curriculum based on intercultural communication theories. We hope SCIP will elevate science communication activities as a valued aspect of academics’ institutional contributions. We aim for this project to increase representation of underrepresented minority scientists and engineers as science communicators and as public intellectuals in environmental news coverage to foster culturally relevant conservations about environmental issues.
The SCIP Fellowship is a one-year professional development opportunity for pre-tenure faculty at U.S. institutions who identify as underrepresented racial or ethnic minorities. The Fellowship will have a different thematic focus in each of its three one-year cohorts. Each of these foci relates, broadly, to climate change. SCIP Fellows will gain science communication expertise and practice and build their professional networks in ways that may support new collaborations and research insights.
Fellowship Thematic Focus:
January – December 2023, Cohort 1: Energy
January – December 2024, Cohort 2: Water
January – December 2025, Cohort 3: Agriculture and Food Security
Fellowship Goals & Commitments
The fellowship is designed for researchers at the pre-tenure career stage to:
- Foster confidence and science communication skills that can be implemented and further honed throughout the Fellows’ careers
- Emphasize the importance of science communication among tenure-track faculty
- Facilitate the transfer of these skills and competencies to Fellows’ students and colleagues
SCIP Fellows will participate in science communication training focused on a wide range of skills and competencies, including strategic and inclusive science communication, intergroup dialogue, adapting to situations and audiences, sharing personal stories through compelling narratives, writing style, framing and messaging, interviewing skills, and working with journalists.
Fellows must commit to participating in two one-week immersive trainings during the fellowship, as well as six web-based, interactive training modules conducted on a bi-monthly basis throughout the fellowship year. The modules will provide additional training on topics such as equitable community engagement and developing substantive, inclusive broader impacts components for proposals. The virtual meetings will provide a supportive space for Fellows to test their ideas for podcast episodes, receive feedback and technical guidance, and discuss concerns or other topics as determined by the cohorts’ needs and interests. Virtual meetings may be held asynchronously to accommodate Fellows’ varied schedules.
Fellows also must commit to responding to pre- and post-training surveys and participating in interviews to inform the research questions of the SCIP project. These surveys and interviews will be kept to the minimum necessary.
SCIP Fellows will receive training to develop and produce podcasts. This experience will prepare SCIP Fellows to participate in other communication and public engagement activities beyond the fellowship, and, perhaps, to become engaged as science communication trainers themselves, whether in their own classrooms or in other settings. SCIP Fellows will receive training in developing narratives, interviewing guests, and podcast production. Fellows will have access to ongoing mentorship and assistance from the SCIP Podcast production team via monthly online “office hours.”
As part of the SCIP Podcast, each Fellow will develop 5 podcast episodes over the course of their fellowship, including three short-form (5-10 minute) and two long-form (30 minute) episodes. With an annual cohort of 20 Fellows, the resulting podcast will feature approximately 100 episodes per year, covering a broad spectrum of topics and perspectives on the annual research themes and providing a wider range of diverse perspectives on environmental and climate change research to expand public interest and engagement with these critical topics.
The SCIP team aims to develop a novel peer-review process for these podcast episodes as a way to expand institutional thinking about “what counts” as academic scholarship. With this approach, Fellows will be able to add five new scholarly works to their academic records and CVs during the fellowship, while creating broadly accessible and compelling podcast episodes about their research interests.
Our Commitments to SCIP Fellows
This is a novel science communication training and research project. The SCIP team expects to learn from the Fellows, and, therefore, will use an adaptive approach toward the training curriculum, adjusting as needed to ensure a training experience that is responsive to the experiences and identities of the Fellows.
Fellows will receive financial and other support as follows:
- a $5,000 honorarium as an acknowledgement of the required time commitment.
- for each in-person training, reimbursement for roundtrip travel, 5 nights’ lodging, roundtrip ground transportation from local airports, and per diem for any meals not provided as part of the training. Local ground transportation will be provided during the workshops.
- an audio recorder for use in podcast development.
The trainings will be developed collaboratively by the Metcalf Institute and Knight Center teams. We will invite speakers and external trainers who represent the racial and ethnic diversity we seek to support via this project to ensure a wide range of perspectives on science communication as an intercultural practice.
June 15, 2022: Call for applications
September 12, 2022: Fellowship application deadline
October 7, 2022: Applicants notified of status
November 1, 2022: 2023 SCIP Fellowship Cohort announced
January 2023: Initial Fellowship Workshop at University of Rhode Island (one week, dates TBD)
March 2023: Virtual Fellowship Meeting
May 2023: Virtual Fellowship Meeting
July 2023: Mid-Fellowship Workshop at Michigan State University (one week, dates TBD)
September 2023: Virtual Fellowship Meeting
October 2023: Virtual Fellowship Meeting
December 2023: Final Fellowship Meeting (Virtual)
The fellowship is open to researchers who study any aspect of natural science, social science, or engineering related to the theme of that year’s cohort. The SCIP Fellowship is designed for people who:
- Self-identify as Black or African American, Indigenous or Native American, Hispanic or Latino/a/x/e, or Asian or Asian American
- Are tenure-track assistant professors at a U.S. academic institution of higher education
- Study anything related to the year’s cohort theme. The 2023 cohort will focus on energy, the 2024 cohort will focus on water, and the 2025 cohort will focus on agriculture and food security.
How to apply
- Complete the fellowship application, including a 250-500 word essay describing your goals for the fellowship experience
- Submit a CV
Fellows will be selected based on their stated interests and goals for leveraging the training through, for example, their research, teaching, advising, and/or public engagement. Selections will maximize the diversity of each fellowship cohort concerning race and ethnicity, geography, discipline, and gender. Fellowships will span one year, from January through December.
When completing the application in SurveyMonkey, please keep the following points in mind:
- In order to be able to go back and edit your application once you have begun, you must use the same device and web browser you used to start the survey.
- Responses in SurveyMonkey are saved and submitted when a respondent clicks the Next or Done button on each page of the survey. Responses don’t automatically save as each question is answered—they are saved and submitted page by page as respondents progress through the survey.