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Public Speaking and Media Interactions: Avenues for Outreach and Dissemination of Research Outcomes



The total federal research spending in the United States was close to $130 billion in the year 2015. National Science Foundation (NSF) is a leading non-defense agency that defines the trends in scientific and engineering research. Among the mandatory sections of grant proposals written to NSF include Scientific Merit, Broader Impact, and Dissemination Plan. The rationale behind including broader impacts section is twofold (a) ensuring a wide area of impact for the proposed research and (b) justifying the investment of public funds in the proposed research. Journal publications and conference presentations are commonly used as elements in the dissemination plans. With ubiquitous presence of smartphones and tablet devices, the outreach and dissemination plan can be transformed to reach a wider set of audience. However, opportunities for interacting with news media and making use of internet based resources are utilized by only a small set of researchers. This presentation will cover aspects related to interacting with news media through general purpose articles, videos, and interviews developed for people that may not have scientific background. Scientists carry the responsibility of making a strong case to lawmakers and general public for increasing the investment of tax dollars in research and development. Such efforts can only be successful when a larger set of people can understand the direct or indirect benefits of the research outcomes.

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