New FREE outreach training class for scientists!

New FREE outreach training class for scientists!

UPDATE (APRIL 9): Registration for our class has closed early. We have received 170 applications in less than a week (way more than we expected) and we want to make sure that we don’t have more course participants than we can handle. We have more outreach training classes coming over the next few months and you can sign up for our e-mail list to keep informed.

Our outreach training course will be even MORE exciting than a giant tiger jumping through fire.

Hey Scientist!

Itching to tell the public about your science? At a time of slashing cuts to science funding, maybe you want to explain to the public why your field deserves public support. Maybe you want to set the record straight about misconceptions the public holds about your field (here’s looking at you, evolutionary biologists). Or maybe you just want to finally be able to explain to your friends and family what it is you actually do at work.

But how do you, dear scientist, get started with your outreach? After all, very few researchers have any experience or training in connecting the public with their science. That’s where SciFund Challenge comes in.

Join the SciFund Challenge community for our first online course aimed at helping scientists get started with outreach. Over 5 weeks, we’ll demystify the business of communicating science and equip you with the tools and confidence you need to get started.

Outreach 101 for Scientists: Getting started with engaging the public with your science

Cost: FREE. However, we aren’t just giving this course away. Course participants must pledge to share what they have learned with their colleagues.

When: April 29-May 31, 2013 (five weeks)

Where: The Internet! This course will be highly interactive and will take place largely through an internal SciFund wiki, short videos, Google Hangouts, and blog posts.

Who: Active scientists in any country in any discipline at any level (from graduate student to emeritus professor to government scientist to NGO scientist). This course is intended for scientists who are new to outreach, but are interested in getting started with it.

What course participants will gain from the course:

  • Confidence to get started with outreach.
  • Understanding of how to communicate their science in a manner that is compelling to the general public.
  • Overview comprehension of the many ways that scientists can engage the public.

Time that course participants should expect to spend on course: 2-3 hours per week

Expected number of course participants: Roughly 50-100.

Deadline for completing course application: April 24. To keep the class size reasonable, course participants will need to fill out a brief application form. Decisions on applications will be given by April 26.

Requirements for course participants. Course participants must:

  1. be fluent in written and spoken English
  2. have access to a computer with a webcam or other video recording device
  3. have access to the Internet
  4. want to have fun

Course instructors:

SciFund Challenge has done lots of science crowdfunding in the past. Is this course connected to crowdfunding?
Not directly. The purpose of this course is to get scientists started with outreach. However, our analysis of the almost 200 SciFund Challenge crowdfunding projects shows that audience size is a key determinant of crowdfunding success. Conducting outreach in a sustained way is the number one way for scientists to build an audience over time. So, this outreach course could be considered the first step for scientists who are considering crowdfunding for their research in the future.

Other questions? Contact Jai Ranganathan ( or Siouxsie Wiles (

2 comments on “New FREE outreach training class for scientists!Add yours →

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  1. Could you please post a schedule? Our field season is ramping up, and I don’t want to request a slot if I won’t actually be able to attend.

    1. Hi Rebecca. We are still nailing down the specifics of class schedule, but the times per week are going to be flexible. The basic approach for each week is that there will be a short assignment and then we will discuss together. Week by week, how we discuss together will differ. In some weeks, we will have a group chat via google hangouts. Considering the time zone issue and that there can be a max of ten people in a hangout, there will be multiple google hangouts that people can join in those weeks. In other weeks, we will have people completing their assignments on an internal wiki and then others will make comments. For these latter assignments, scheduling isn’t really an issue.