Going Public: What Do We Know About Our Investment In Science Communication?


At this year’s AAAS annual meeting, the volume of sessions and workshops about science communications clearly reflected the community’s growing appetite and interest.  We’re notably moving past conversations about why scientists need to engage, and into conversations around how we can best support scientists to do so. Research shows that scientists do want to engage, but that they don’t have the time or resources to do it.

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Why Did The Scientist Cross The Road?

Although crossing the road can be a daunting task, is it made easier by the company of colleagues, some infrastructure to guide the way, and the promise new opportunities on the other side.
CC BY-SA-NC-SA by Khaz on flickr

During the past few weeks I had the opportunity to attend two conferences that had related themes and took place literally across the street from each other, but in other ways were worlds apart. First was the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting (#ESA2014), which was dominated by ecological scientists sharing their research. The following week, government officials, land managers, city planners, and NGO representatives met at the first ever California Adaptation Forum (#CAF14). While both conferences explored the possibility of finding solutions by forging new connections, there was still clearly a gap between those talking about the latest research on one side of the street and those trying to figure out how to implement it on the other. [Read more…]

Navigating The Boundary

boundary bridge 2

I’m excited to be writing my first blog post as a new member of the COMPASS team. I joined COMPASS two months ago, and one of the facets of work here that I’m particularly excited by is COMPASS’ role as a boundary organization. Boundary organizations are so named because they sit at the “boundary” between science and non-science. COMPASS has traditionally helped scientists navigate across the boundaries separating science from policy and media, although we are increasingly exploring ways we can support scientists to cross boundaries to connect with business, legal and other communities as well.  A relatively new term, the definition and theory of “boundary organizations” began to coalesce in the early 2000s, but the role that boundary organizations play – the seat between science and non-science – has been evolving over a much longer timescale.

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Persuasion And Influence: Dirty Words In Science Communication?

Last week we shared insights from the National Academy of Sciences’ Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication. The premise of this gathering was: if we rely on evidence for our research, why do we rely on hunches to communicate it? With this in mind, the organizers assembled a stellar group of scientists who shared data about how people process information, which is all immediately useful in effective communication and engagement. While I shared my summary of take homes last week, I wanted to also share something else the organizers did brilliantly. By bringing in speakers from business, network thinking, and consumer choice theory, they pushed our thinking about science communication. People were equally as interested as they were uncomfortable. [Read more…]

Looking Beyond The Business Card


COMPASS needed to investigate how they might contribute at the boundary of science and business, so naturally they needed someone who knew about synergy – an MBA intern! As a master’s candidate in environmental sciences and business management, I felt well positioned to help COMPASS investigate what they’ve been hearing for awhile now – an unmet need at the intersection of science and business. [Read more…]

2/1/13 Link Roundup

Happy Friday, link roundup readers! This week we had two great posts go up on the COMPASSblog: One by Erica Goldman on the pains and rewards of transitioning away from a traditional science career, and another by Brooke, announcing an opportunity for someone who’s already taken the plunge (transitioning from science to business) to help us navigate new boundaries. If you know an MBA student who would be great for this position, let us know by emailing Brooke ASAP at [email protected] [Read more…]

We Mean Business

COMPASS is looking for a savvy MBA student to join our team for a summer fellowship.

Artwork from HikingArtist.com via Flickr

As we’ve shared here, we are excited, energetic, (and a little bit nervous) to be expanding our traditional scope beyond ocean science, to science and scientists more broadly connected to the relationship between people and planet. We spent the better part of 2012 interviewing, researching, and digging into what we have done already and how the COMPASS approach could apply more broadly.

In our exploratory conversations with leaders from science, government, NGOs, and the media world, we received – often unsolicited – feedback on potential connections between scientists and the business community. “That is where the really transformative stuff happens,” we heard.

This message resonated with us. A changing climate, water supply, or weather system can affect business processes and decisions, and of course, bottom lines. Forbes recently reported on how businesses can be more resilient to climate change – and how taking these steps also represent good business decisions. We recognize that it’s time for us to look into whether we have a role at the boundary between science and business. [Read more…]