2020 Research Communications Academy is accepting applications

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Thompson Hall and fall trees seen from above

UNH’s second annual Research Communications Academy (RCA), scheduled for spring semester 2020, is now accepting applications.

Launched in 2019 by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research, Economic Engagement and Outreach and NH EPSCoR, the RCA aims to enhance the capacity of UNH scholars from all disciplines to effectively communicate the power and impact of UNH research, scholarship and creative activity with a broad audience.

“For UNH to engage effectively in our community, our state and the world, it’s imperative that we communicate the relevance and importance of our scholarship.”

“For UNH to engage effectively in our community, our state and the world, it’s imperative that we communicate the relevance and importance of our scholarship,” says Kevin Gardner, vice provost for research and state director of NH EPSCoR. “Whether you want to help news reporters and the broader public understand your work or engage with industry partners, lawmakers, donors, funding agencies or collaborators, the Research Communications Academy will give you new tools and a forum to hone your communications skills.”

The academy, which is free, will include a two-day intensive training in communicating science presented by the Alda Center for Communicating Science, a one-day proposal development training led by AtKisson Training Group, a panel with reporters and news media experts and on-camera media training, an interactive mentorship workshop with UNH’s PowerPlay and informal gatherings for the cohort to practice their skills.

The Research Communications Academy is open to 24 faculty members of all types and at all levels (including research and clinical faculty and lecturers), graduate students (master’s and doctoral), postdoctoral researchers and research staff from all schools and colleges, institutes and disciplines. Last year’s Academy drew scholars from across the university and was widely heralded as successful.

“Although as a teacher I used storytelling to make complex ideas more accessible, my years of graduate work and doctoral training pushed me to adopt more academic language,” says Bryan Mascio, a postdoctoral researcher in education. “I can’t express strongly enough how empowering it was to be told that re-embracing the storyteller within is not only acceptable, but vital for my success. If we want for our research to make a difference, then we need to constantly improve our ability to advocate for it.”

“The RCA was a great opportunity to practice talking about my research and receive constructive feedback to improve my message,” says Amy Keesee, associate professor of physics. Keesee took advantage of congressional visits and recorded a StoryCorps interview through the American Geophysical Union.

Drew Robison, a Ph.D. student in the Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS) program, credited the RCA with helping him get accepted into the American Geophysical Union’s Voices for Science program. Another participant, Sydney Birch, won the Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis competition.

Applications are available here and are due by 5pm Friday, November 15, 2019. Because space is limited, applicants are expected to commit to participating in these activities:

  • RCA cohort meeting, Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 2 - 3pm
  • Alan Alda Center training Thursday, January 9 and Friday, January 10, 2020 (all day)
  • Media panel and training Tuesday, January 14, 2020 (half day)
  • Proposal development training Friday, March 6, 2020 (all day)
  • PowerPlay Mentorship Workshop and Bias Intervention Lab March 12, 2020, 1:30-4

The selection process for the Research Communications Academy considers a diversity of positions and research subjects, as well as the strength of applicants’ assessments of how the training will impact their scholarship.

Several RCA activities, including the proposal development workshop, PowerPlay workshop and the news media panel, will be open to larger audiences. The 2020 Research Communications Academy is sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research, Economic Engagement and Outreach, NH EPSCoR and the UNH Graduate School.

For questions or more information, contact Justine Stadler.