WISL Award for Communicating Doctoral Research to the Public

The Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL) is pleased to continue encouraging doctoral candidates in chemistry to include in their dissertations a chapter that describes their scholarly research for a general audience. WISL is offering a cash award of $250 for each completed chapter submitted to it by UW-Madison doctoral chemistry students.

WISL facilitates the creation of such chapters by offering several types of assistance. View the writing guidelines here. Included are excerpts from several chapters that have already been completed, and these excerpts show the wide range of styles and formats such a chapter may take. In addition, WISL is offering the assistance of a science journalist to help degree candidates hone their chapters.

In order to participate in this program, individual degree candidates should:

  • Indicate to WISL their intention to create a chapter for non-specialists. Do this by sending an email to scifun@chem.wisc.edu as soon as possible.
  • Indicate the time frame during which the chapter will be completed.
  • Before beginning, review the guidelines and samples posted here.
  • Submit a draft version to WISL for review by the consulting journalist/editor before the dissertation is to be completed.
  • Complete and submit to WISL the final version.

The goal of this program is to foster in researchers a commitment to communicating the significance of their work and their enthusiasm for it to an audience beyond their fellow researchers (family members, friends, neighbors, civic groups, newspaper reporters, funding agency program officers, state legislators, and members of the U.S. Congress.) WISL hopes that by starting this communication early, during graduate education, scientists will develop both an attentiveness toward how their work fits into a wider social context and the skills needed to convey this to non-specialists.

We look forward to supporting our Ph.D. students in communicating their work to general audiences. WISL will make the completed chapters available widely.