Future scientists communicate research through new media.

Challenge

The University of Missouri C3 project trains future scientists in computational biology, collaboration, and communication skills. The challenge is to demonstrate to the funder how this innovative approach is effective.

Computational biology uses mathematical modeling of large data sets and computer simulations to study biological systems. Next generation researchers need to collaborate with scientists from other disciplines. They must also learn how to communicate technical information to the public in plain language.

Solution

Hughes research fellowships for undergraduates and an informatics institute trains undergraduates to collaborate in computational research. The project offers mentoring workshops for faculty and provides outreach to biology teachers in Missouri.

Hughes fellows work with Journalism students to learn communication skills. In partnership with the School of Journalism C3 sponsors SciXchange, a platform that uses new media to communicate science to the public. Through a website and the @Scixchange Twitter, Hughes fellows learn to communicate science news to the public

C3 will train over 200 students in four years. Edu designed and guides formative evaluation to monitor project activities and help it improve each year. Analytics measures the reach of new media. A summative evaluation documents program outcomes.