Research and Findings

SciPEP Resources

Science Communication Training: What is Needed for Basic Science and Basic Scientists?

This report synthesizes the main ideas that emerged in discussions over a two-day workshop hosted by SciPEP (Science Public Engagement Partnership, of the Department of Energy and The Kavli Foundation) that brought together science communication trainers, scholars, and other experts with the goal of deepening their understanding of the needs and opportunities of basic science communication training. This report aims to further the objectives of this workshop by inspiring effective approaches for basic scientists and others doing, studying, or training basic science communication.

SciPEP Resources


Details about the landscape of public engagement with basic science, remaining questions, and next steps for SciPEP.

Basic and beyond: Next steps on the path to effective and meaningful science communication

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SciPEP’s prospectus and landscape reports revealed that little is known about effective science communication and engagement specifically on basic science topics. This work builds on the high-level questions articulated in the prospectus by exploring how researchers, practitioners, and others in the field of science communication and engagement might approach those open questions, sparking new ideas and initiatives.

Rose Hendricks, PhD, and Marissa Fond, PhD.
Abridged version edited by Lauren Budenholzer, PhD, with Rose Hendricks, PhD, and Marissa Fond, PhD.

Communicating About Basic Science


Evidence-Based Recommendations for More Effective Communication with the Public About Basic Scientific Research

Christopher M. Volpe, Ph.D.

Conference Resources

Resources from the inaugural SciPEP conference, Communicating the Future: Engaging the Public in Basic Science.

Conference Proceedings

A record of the rich sessions and phenomenal speakers and panelists who participated in the inaugural SciPEP Conference, these proceedings are also a portal to the insights and ideas that will fuel SciPEP discussions and ideation long after the conference. 

Rapporteur Transcript

Plenary 7: An astrophysicist, a political scientist, and a science journalist turned college dean walk into a public engagement conference, and… what comes next? Three thought leaders reflected on the conference and looked to the future, including identifying research gaps and resource needs for the future of communicating basic science.

Closing Report-Outs

Plenary 9: This is a transcript of report-outs delivered during “Brainstorming for the Future.” What are the research needs and priorities to empower our SciPEP community to more effectively engage the public in basic science?  Session attendees reflected on observations shared in Plenary 7, “How do we move forward from here?,” and broader conference discussions


With support from The Kavli Foundation, two teams of researchers on the science of science communication examined the scope and scale of scholarship about communication and public engagement with basic science. What they found may surprise you, making them interesting and important for anyone involved in public engagement with basic science. Find their reports below, and be sure to watch the recorded webinar, Missing in Action: Communication and Public Engagement Scholarship on Basic Science, where they present their work.

Assessing the Scholarship of Public Engagement with Basic Science

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What does the U.S. public think and feel about basic science research? What do scientists and professional communicators publish about their public engagement with basic science efforts? This report explores trends in U.S. public opinion about basic science and presents the result of a large-scale investigation on what research exists on public engagement with basic science in peer-reviewed Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) journals.

Todd P. Newman, Dominique Brossard, Dietram A. Scheufele, Kaiping Chen, Yachao Qian, Ashley Cate, Lindsey Middleton, Department of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The (Very Limited) Evidence Base for Basic-Science-Specific Science Communication in Key Communication Journals

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There is a large and robust literature supporting public engagement with controversial science, science policy, applied medicine and health, and technology. But is there a parallel literature on scientists and the communicators who work with them regarding engagement around basic science? This report details the degree to which four key science communication journals have published research on the communication of basic or discovery science. It also describes potential paths forward for the basic science community based on these findings.

John C. Besley, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University; Karen Peterman and Allison Black-Maier, Karen Peterman Consulting; and Jane Robertson Evia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.