F4: The Sounds of Science: Getting Your Research and Policy Goals Heard in Congress

While interest in science policy and engagement with policymakers has intensified among many natural and social scientists, grad students, Ph.D.s, and Postdocs in the sciences often do not have access to the requisite training to be effective in public policy environments. Mentors in the university setting may not have knowledge of, or contact with, resources - including colleagues - who can help students and trainees identify opportunities in public policy fields. Responsibilities to lab work and aggressive deadlines may frustrate efforts to find and participate in training and/or fellowships that could enable greater understanding and sophistication about how to influence and shape public policy.

In response to increasing interest, federal grants and university funding have been directed towards training in science policy, science communication, and the development of related transferable skills. Student groups such as Advancing Science And Policy (ASAP) at Cornell University have, with some university backing, sprung up on campuses across the country. And with the conclusion this September of NIH's Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST), some of the BEST sites are going to continue supporting the programming and personnel previously funded under the BEST grant program.

This workshop will teach specific, actionable messaging skills to participants interested in how to engage with policymakers on issues they're passionate about; craft and deliver compelling communications on policy-related matters; and sequence and calibrate their messaging to support productive relationships with policymakers and staff members in their priority research and policy areas.

The workshop's subject matter is shaped by lessons and experience I gained throughout 20 years of work on Capitol Hill, including service as Chief of Staff in the Senate and House of Representatives and informed by collaborating with, and conducting workshops for, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows as well as hosting a weekly podcast, "When Science Speaks" that interviews scientists and engineers engaged in the public policy and communication realms.

The workshop will teach participants the insider, behind-the-scenes techniques for getting their voices heard and advancing their policy goals in Congress.


  • Mark Bayer, President, Bayer Strategic Consulting