NEW: Awards for Science Communication from C&E Section

Overall tone of image is blue. Water droplets landing on seed heads (look like long thin hairs, like a dandelion)

Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

Recognition of important work matters. 

Since our inception, the Communication and Engagement Section has intended to offer awards to recognize the intellectual, scientific, and civic contributions made by ESA members active in public engagement and science communication. 

For years, our section has worked toward being able to put money, and the credibility of a professional society, into our efforts to validate the essential work done by people sharing science in countless ways.

We are thrilled to announce that we are now accepting nominations and self-nominations for two awards! Read on, nominate yourself, and please share this opportunity widely! Contact us if you have any questions about the awards.


Science Communication in Practice Award ($400)

This $400 award recognizes individual projects, career contributions and significant papers/research that represent excellence in science communication and community engagement with science. Self-nominations and nominations of others are open through June 30! Please submit your nominations HERE.

Science Communication Poster Award ($200)

If you submitted an abstract for a poster for ESA 2020 that involves science communication, consider opting into our new $200 SciComm Poster Award! It can recognize excellence in visual SciComm, communication and engagement projects, and/or broader impacts of a research project. Submissions open through July 15! Please submit your abstracts HERE!



Seed funding for these awards is made possible through the ESA Long-Range Planning Grant program. We are working on sustaining funding for them. If you would like to contribute to that effort in any way, please contact us directly.

The establishment of communications and engagement awards within ESA aligns with ESA’s 2016 Strategic Plan by supporting the goal to “strengthen the programs, benefits, and networking opportunities for non-academic ecologists who are engaged in policy, communication, management, consulting, etc.” The awards will be available to academic and non-academic members of ESA, and they provide a clear benefit of recognition to ecologists that are engaged in communication. The establishment of communications and engagement awards further aligns with ESA’s 2016 Strategic Plan goal to “identify and highlight non-academic careers, focusing on skills that non-academic employers seek and preparation of ESA members for such jobs.”

By specifically recognizing ecologists’ achievements related to science communication and engagement, the new awards also align with ESA’s 2018 Extending the Tent Initiative, specifically, its goal of “better serving the full array of professional ecologists and those working in related fields” and efforts to be “more visibly inclusive and supportive of all ecologists.” Additionally, these awards are synergistic with and informed by previous LRPG- funded efforts to identify mechanisms to further integrate engagement throughout ESA (e.g., Kenney and Davis Engage ESA funding, 2018). 

Broader Impact Statement: As public trust in science and scientists has declined (AAAS 2016; Pew 2015), calls for scientists to increase their public engagement efforts have proliferated (Keller et al. 2017). An extensive body of research indicates that universities and institutions such as professional societies can play a significant role in supporting, incentivizing, and rewarding the considerable investments that scientists make to public engagement (e.g., Bednarek et al. 2018; Jefferson et al 2018; Shanley and López 2009). The establishment of these Communication and Engagement awards benefits ESA members by providing specific recognition of the broader impacts of their work and benefits ESA as a society by demonstrating a public-facing commitment to communication and engagement. In addition, by stipulating that the C&E Best Practice Award is open to all current and past ESA members, the inaugural awards serves as a means to mitigate the impact of discriminatory actions that impact member participation in a particular annual meeting. Subsequent awards will remain open to all current and past ESA members to be inclusive of all entrants that may face barriers to attending ESA annual meetings. 

Literature Cited

American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). 2016. Perceptions of Science in America. Retrieved 14 January 2019 from: America.pdf 

Bednarek, A. T., et al. 2018. Boundary spanning at the science–policy interface: the practitioners’ perspectives. Sustainability Science 13:1175-1183. 

Jefferson, A. J., M. A. Kenney, T. M. Hill, and N. E. Selin. 2018. Universities can lead the way supporting engaged geoscientists, Eos, 99, 

Keller, B. L., et al. 2017. Society is ready for a new kind of science—is academia? BioScience 67:591–592. 

Pew Research Center. 2015. Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society. Retrieved 14 January 2019 from: ScienceandSociety_Report_012915.pdf 

Shanley, P., and C. López. 2009. Out of the loop: Why research rarely reaches policy makers and the public and what can be done. Biotropica 41(5);535-544.