Communicating for Policy: NPR Scicommers Join NSPN and ESEP for Virtual Happy Hour

Science communication and science policy go hand in hand. Thanks to a recent virtual happy hour, early-career scientists and engineers networked and discussed the connection.

The happy hour, held November 30 over Zoom, was co-hosted by the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), the Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy Coalition (ESEP), and the NPR Scicommers. The event brought together over 50 science communication and science policy enthusiasts from around the world to discuss their intersecting interests in breakout rooms.

The first breakout session was centered on science policy topics and how these topics are communicated in the policymaking process. Attendees were able to choose their own breakout room using a recently added Zoom feature, allowing more freedom as the discussions began. Breakout room topics included health and biology, energy and the environment, and advocacy from the local level to international diplomacy.

The second breakout session pivoted toward science communication and how effective communication skills can help publicize policies and actions. Attendees moved to new breakout rooms to discuss themes such as writing, broadcast media, and art, and to think about how each medium intersects with policy.

NSPN and ESEP invited the NPR Scicommers to collaborate on the event. NPR Scicommers is a community founded by NPR’s Joe Palca that provides science communication training and mentorship for academics at all career stages. The Scicommers’ expertise in topics such as science journalism provided an opportunity for NSPN and ESEP members to learn more about science communication, while also sharing their policy knowledge. Connections formed across the organizations, pushing the communication and policy boundaries.

The next NSPN-ESEP virtual happy hour will take place in January 2021. More information and registration will be available soon.

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To learn more about the NPR Scicommers, read more on the NPR website or follow them on Twitter: @JoesBigIdea. To learn more about the ESEP Coalition, visit their website or follow them on Twitter: @ESEPCoalition. To stay up to date on future NSPN-ESEP virtual happy hours, visit the NSPN event page and look out for our email newsletters.

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