Amplify the signal: Graduate training in broader impacts of scientific research

Katy D. Heath, Elizabeth Bagley, Abigail J.M. Berkey, David M. Birlenbach, Morgan K. Carr-Markell, John W. Crawford, Michelle A. Duennes, Jennifer O. Han, Miranda J. Haus, Spencer M. Hellert, Christopher J. Holmes, Brett C. Mommer, Julia Ossler, Rhiannon Peery, Lisa Powers, Daniel R. Scholes, Christina A. Silliman, Laura R. Stein, Cassandra J. Wesseln

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Expertise in the broader impacts of scientific research is an increasingly important aspect of professional development, particularly because federal grant proposals are commonly reviewed using both the Intellectual Merit and the Broader Impacts Criteria. Unfortunately, training in broader impacts, such as science communication and outreach, is not typically part of undergraduate or graduate curricula. We initiated one of the first graduate-level biology courses on broader impacts, focusing on giving graduate students firsthand, authentic experiences with grant writing, science communication, and educational outreach. Students in this interdisciplinary course learned from experts, wrote for a broad audience about their own research, and proposed and implemented outreach in collaboration with local organizations. We outline our approach, discuss outcomes from each activity, assess our impact, and finally consider how future programs might expand on this model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-523
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Broader impacts
  • Communication
  • Journalism
  • Outreach
  • Writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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