University of Rhode Island

Science Communication (SciComm) Identities Fellowship

Metcalf Institute

The University of Rhode Island's Metcalf Institute, Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, and the URI Science and Story Lab launched the SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) to prepare the next generation of science communicators from underrepresented ethnic and racial backgrounds. The ambitious five-year collaborative project, supported by a $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant, will address a significant gap in science communication research and training by centering the motivations, experiences, and priorities of racial and ethnic minority scientists. The SCIP team will develop and test a novel science communication training curriculum through a new one-year fellowship program.

“An important step in advancing effective science communication is ensuring that training methods are inclusive and intersectional and that they recognize and value different cultural perspectives,” says Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute executive director and clinical professor of environmental communication. “This project is a critical part of the effort to build evidence-based science communication curricula. We’re thrilled to help more researchers of color become go-to, trusted sources for the news media, policy makers, communities, and other public audiences.”

Call for Fellowship Applicants

The SciComm Identities Project aims to shift the paradigm of science communication training and create a more representative suite of academic science communicators. SCIP will support underrepresented minority scientists and engineers as science communicators, featuring a fellowship designed to test a training curriculum based on intercultural communication theories. SCIP also aims to elevate science communication activities as a valued aspect of academics’ institutional contributions within the review, promotion, and tenure process. In addition, by leveraging the journalism networks of Metcalf Institute and the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, the project will amplify recognition of SCIP Fellows as public intellectuals in environmental news coverage to foster culturally relevant conversations 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. Each of the three fellowship years will center around a theme relating to climate change, including water, and agriculture and food security. The 2023 Fellowship will focus on energy, and is therefore open to all tenure-track associate professors who study some aspect of energy as it relates to climate change in the natural or social sciences or engineering. SCIP Fellows in these fields will gain science communication expertise and experience and build their professional networks in ways that may support new collaborations and research insights.

Fellows will be selected based on their stated interests and goals for leveraging the training through their work, 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. Applications for the first fellowship year are due August 1, 2022. To learn more about the program and to apply, visit: SciCommIdentities.org.

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Last updated: 2022-06-23