About PCR-Public Communication for Researchers - Carnegie Mellon University

About Public Communication for Researchers

We are a group of grad students, professors, deans, journalists, and science communicators who want to enhance the conversation between the science community and the general public. The result is Public Communication for Researchers, a professional development program to teach communication skills to graduate students in fields of research. PCR was founded by three Ph.D. students at Carnegie Mellon in response to seeing science misunderstood and discredited in public discourse.

What we're doing

The goal of PCR is to help participants learn and practice communicating science to people of any background. The curriculum consists of a series of workshops and seminars that start with core principles of effective communication. The seminars then move on to applying these principles to several contexts, such as giving an interview and persuading policy makers. We don't aim to turn researchers into full-time science communicators – we just want to feel comfortable talking about our work to the media, the voting public, and our grandmothers.

How we started

PCR was founded by three housemates and Ph.D. students who were frustrated with the public perception of science. Although science has profoundly impacted our modern world, it remains seriously misunderstood. We hold academia partly responsible for not paying enough attention to public communication. We hope to change that by making public communication part of our graduate education.

Our vision

We hope that by training the next generation of scientists to be proactive in talking about their work, we can improve the trust, support and funding for research and education. We can empower the voting public as informed participants in policy debates. We can create a culture that places more value on facts and data – and expects the same from its leaders. Most importantly, we can share the wonder and excitement of discovery.

Documents About PCR

We have compiled a one-page PDFsummary of the motivation behind PCR and the programs we run, including some key statistics about attendees.

We have also composed a detailed PDFproposal for including communication training in graduate education (based on a submission to the National Science Foundation's 2013 Innovation in Graduate Education Challenge).