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The Conversation seeks enviro, public health scholars for new public engagement initiative

The Conversation US is launching a pilot initiative designed to help empower scholars, particularly those at the beginning of their careers, to become lifelong public voices at the intersection of environment and health. This initiative will take place in the fall and winter of 2020, and will provide training and mentoring in communicating research to the public, including an opportunity to write for The Conversation US.

The Conversation is working to organize a cohort of 18 scholars, ranging from postdoctoral fellows to pre-tenured professors. Their research should focus on issues that connect environmental challenges and/or solutions with public health. This is an interdisciplinary field, so scholars from the natural and social sciences are eligible. Illustrative examples of eligible topics include:

  • Health impacts of exposure to all types of pollution, including air emissions, water contamination, toxic waste, noise and environmental chemicals such as pesticides.
  • Health risks associated with extreme weather, such as heat waves, dust storms and flooding.
  • Environmental impacts on the global food supply, such as crop losses, reduced yields and altered nutritional content in staple crops.
  • Solution-based case studies that explain how government agencies or communities mitigated a threat or solved an environmental health problem.
  • Technology and engineering solutions to address problems in environment and health, such as designs for climate-friendly streets that cool the surrounding area and promote walking and cycling.

The Conversation US will offer three webinars in the fall of 2020 on communicating research to the public. Each will last 90-120 minutes and include ample time for questions and discussion. The expected topics are:

  1. Why scholars should share their findings with the public, and ways to do it
  2. How to work with the media
  3. Writing for The Conversation

The webinars will be designed to help scholars who have not had significant experience or training in public communication understand the value to them, their institutions and society of sharing their findings beyond academic circles. Conversation staff will provide introductory coaching on understanding what journalists are looking for, connecting with members of the media and handling press calls. The process will culminate with a webinar on writing for The Conversation US, after which participants will be encouraged to pitch articles.

Participants will be encouraged but not required to attend all three webinars. Dates and times will be scheduled in September 2020, with webinars expected to be held in October, November and December 2020.

To apply or propose someone for this project, please email by Sept. 15, 2020. We will select participants with an eye toward creating a group that includes scholars from diverse backgrounds, institutions and research areas. Conversation staff will reply with their decisions on or around Sept. 22, 2020. This scholarship opportunity is made possible with support from the Hearst Foundations.

For more information, contact: