Effective communication skills enable scientists to engage non-experts, inform public opinion and policymakers, inspire the next generation of scientists and voters, and improve our own research process. UNAVCO provides communication training for our three internship programs, offers on-demand communication training to our community, and develops training materials that can be incorporated into independent curriculum. Our approach focuses on encouraging conversation between scientists and non-experts. The skills practiced can be applied to all channels of communication, from a public or academic lecture to a social media feed.

The Importance of Science Communication Skills

At UNAVCO, we believe that science communication is a crucial science skill that must be learned and practiced. Science communication training can also provide key benefits such as cohort and confidence building. For more on science communication training and best practices, see our publication list:

Our Offerings

UNAVCO, often with partners, provides science communication training at major and mid-sized meetings, as well as at member institutions by request. Trainings are modular and customizable, ranging from a 20-minute introduction to networking to a multi-day program with remote follow-on sessions. See our Events page for past and future offerings.

Topics we cover include both professional communication (to scientific peers) and public communication:

  • Basic communication skills, including self-awareness and understanding our audience
  • Networking
  • Poster presentations
  • Oral presentations
  • Hazards communication
  • Visual communication
  • Social media
  • Storytelling
  • Working with the media

Our Materials

UNAVCO joined the Portal to the Public Network (PoPNet) in March 2016 to offer PoPNet-style hands-on communication training to the geodetic scientific community. Portal to the Public is a tested system of professional development tools designed to better connect scientists and the public in positive dialogue, in informal education settings such as museums. Our primary goal with Portal to the Public is to enable meaningful experiences between geoscientists and the public.

Additionally, UNAVCO has developed our own training materials with various partners through our experience working with scientists at all career levels, from undergraduates to professional researchers and educators. Please contact us with feedback or any questions about how to best use the materials below at educationat symbolunavco.org.

Worksheets & Handouts

UNAVCO has developed a suite of worksheets and other resources that can be used by individuals or applied in a classroom or workshop setting. They are useful for scientists at all career levels. These materials, as well as other materials on this page, are in constant development and feedback is welcome.

Other Resources & Opportunities

We are happy to consider adding other opportunities to this page. Please email your suggestions to educationat symbolunavco.org