Has there ever been a more important time for scientists to learn to communicate effectively to lay audiences? We don’t think so.
Researchers need to be able to talk about their work clearly, concisely and accurately not just to funders and peer reviewers, but to colleagues, patients, and the public at large. They must not only explain the latest findings from the laboratory, but convey the underlying passion, excitement, and resourcefulness that produced those discoveries. And they must do all this while also learning how to achieve critical distance from their own field in order to become reliable, trustworthy commentators.
With that in mind, the Carter Institute in 2009 began offering workshops taught by nationally prominent science writers for NYU science Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. We have since expanded our trainings to include NYU science faculty and now offer specialized workshops in audio podcasting, too. In 2023, we expanded to include master’s degree students in the sciences.
To date, 1,232 NYU scientists have participated. Each workshop consists of four weekly sessions of three hours each. There are typically ten students per workshop. There is no charge to students, and no university credit is given. In the 2023-24 academic year, we will offer 10 four-week workshops: seven introductory, two audio, and one advanced.
Workshop graduates have published in dozens of prominent outlets, including Scientific American, Slate, the New York Times, Science and Nature. They have also written books, recorded podcasts, blogged, and participated in live storytelling events such as The Moth, Story Collider and TED. Please see the Alumni Story Gallery to see some of their published work. You can also read book reviews, essays and musings by our workshoppers in Cooper Square Review. Funding for CSR ceased in 2020 but you can still real their terrific work.