2013 Webinar 2: Promoting Science Responsibly: How to do PR, Promote Journals and Handle Public Information

Held: September 4, 2013, 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Eastern Time

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All too often, we see instances where stories on science, medicine, and technology get blown out of proportion, distorted by the media, or misconstrued by the public. These situations can leave us asking how to responsibly promote the results of scientific research without overstating the conclusions. This webinar will guide participants in communicating science effectively and taking a measured approach to public and media relations, with a focus on enhancing public understanding of evidence-based science, the use of statistics, and the role of the peer review process.


  1. Convey the importance of the stays of evidence when discussing research – it’s not only what we know that is important to communicate but how we know it – and the role that peer review plays in conversations about research and evidence.
  2. Discuss how public relations officers can utilize traditional media and various multimedia tools to communicate institutional values and results of peer-reviewed scientific reports effectively.
  3. Hear how Cancer Research UK – the UK’s leading cancer charity – disseminates research findings to the general public through its social media channels, including its award-winning science blog.


Carissa Gilman, Chair, CSE Education Committee


JenniferWalshJennifer A. Walsh
Media Officer, National Academy of Sciences

Jennifer A. Walsh is a senior-level communications strategist who designs and directs high-profile campaigns around sometimes contentious scientific research and policy issues by employing the latest multimedia tools to maximize exposure. She translates complex and technical concepts into clear messages and stories that resonate with diverse audiences and utilizes emerging technologies to align communications with an organization’s brand, vision, and values. Walsh is currently a senior media relations officer for the National Academy of Sciences, which provides science, technology, and health policy advice to federal and state governments and the public. In her role, she is responsible for keeping media up-to-date on current reports and activities at NAS, covering topics such as environment sciences, climate change, agriculture, oceans, toxicology, and nuclear studies. In addition, she writes articles for the institution’s magazine, The National Academies In Focus, and conducts media training to help prepare scientists to work with the press. Before coming to NAS, Walsh worked for the public relations firm Tricom Associates Inc., based in Arlington, Virginia. As an account manager, she oversaw the strategic communications for National Geographic’s science education program, The JASON Project — which has taken middle school students on exotic scientific expeditions led by Titanic-discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard. Walsh also participated in media campaigns for the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Disney Teacher Awards, and the Presidential Awards for Mathematics and Science Teaching. Walsh holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, political science, and journalism from Ohio University. Follow her at @NAS_news and @SciencePRPro or www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferawalsh/.

LeonorSierraLeonor Sierra
US Coordinator, Sense About Science; Senior Science Writer and Press Officer, University of Rochester

Leonor Sierra is Senior Science Writer and Press Officer at the University of Rochester since August 2012 and also coordinates Sense About Science’s US program on a voluntary basis. Leonor has a degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD from Cambridge University, where she specialized in Physics. She joined Sense About Science in February 2008 as Scientific Liaison and in 2010, Sierra took on the role of Science and Policy Manager. Her responsibilities included scrutiny of science policy, responding to consultations, and coordinating “Making Sense of” guides. In 2011 she took on the development of Sense About Science’s international work. At Rochester, she covers physics and engineering and loves hearing about the latest developments from the researchers she works with. Follow her at @leonor_sierra and Sense About Science at @senseaboutsci.

HenryScowcroftHenry Scowcroft
News & Media Manager, Cancer Research UK

Henry Scowcroft spent four years at university studying biochemistry before realizing that the laboratory life wasn’t for him, and going to work for a science journal instead. From there, he went on to do a Masters in Science Communication and, after a brief flirtation with science journalism, in 2003 he started working in Cancer Research UK’s Science Communications team. In 2005 he moved to the charity’s Digital department, helping to launch and manage their News & Resources website. In 2011 he moved to back to the Science Comms team, where he now spends his days managing the charity’s news feed and blog, disseminating the latest results in worldwide cancer research to a wide and varied online audience. Follow him at @oh_henry and Cancer Research UK at @CR_UK.