"Making the Case: Outreach and Communications for Large, International Science Projects"
"Making the Case" is a workshop to be held April 11-13, 2017 at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, CA, USA. Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a co-host for the workshop.
This three-day workshop will provide Workforce, Education, Public Outreach and Communications (WEPOC) leaders from high energy physics and astronomy projects a candid forum for considering fundamental questions for large, international science projects:
- What is the value of WEPOC to the projects and their communities?
- How, when and where should WEPOC be defined, developed and implemented?
- What are the barriers and challenges in developing strategic plans and programs?
- How do you make the case of the value of WEPOC to the international leadership in these projects?
The workshop will enable a candid conversation among leaders in established and upcoming large projects. The outcome of the workshop will include:
- A publishable roadmap or whitepaper that describes Workforce, Education, Public Outreach and Communications (WEPOC) potential contributions to large international science projects.
- A presentation developed (based on the paper) to share with other colleagues in current and planned large, international science projects.
- A pathway for extending, and where needed, establishing formal or informal networks for science communication leaders working on international high energy physics and astronomy projects.
It is noteworthy and that while many of the high energy physics and science projects engage Communication and Outreach specialists as part of their team, their experience, access to leadership, specific roles and functions can be quite different. Each of these skilled professionals is finding solutions to project-specific problems, however they would benefit from a forum to share leadership-level lessons learned and create practical roadmaps for future large science projects involving international partners. This meeting seeks to make contributions toward this goal.
Specifically, the group will look at issues such as:
- Models for education and public communications/outreach in large-scale (international) research infrastructure projects, specifically in high energy physics and astronomy
- (Local) community involvement / social benefits / collateral benefits programmes
- Large-scale (international) research infrastructure & international diplomacy
- Crisis communication for large-scale (international) research infrastructure projects
Background on The Need for this Workshop
The fields of High Energy Physics and Astronomy are similar in that the next generation of scientific discoveries are likely to emerge from large-scale infrastructure projects. While many large scientific projects of the past were approached on national levels, science projects of the future are more and more requiring intellectual and financial contributions from multiple countries.
These projects are highly collaborative and involve scientific and engineering talent from multiple institutes and countries to build and operate. Additionally, these projects come with resource requirements that require countries and institutions to pool their funding and their resources, instead of attempting these large projects individually. Furthermore, each of these projects stands to advance our collective understanding of our world, and our universe, in significant ways. Inviting stakeholders and the public to share in the journey and the findings is also part of these efforts for a number of reasons, including the risk that a lack of public support could result in de-funding or under-funding of these science projects.
The complexity of this work cannot be overestimated. The science projects are international with multiple teams, time zones, languages, budget cycles, cultural and public perspectives on science, governance structures, and project management styles. These, and a host of other issues, creates a number of challenges even outside the complex scientific and engineering questions.
While many of the high energy physics and science projects engage Communication and Outreach specialists as part of their team, their experience, access to leadership, specific roles and functions can be quite different. Each of these skilled professionals is finding solutions to project-specific problems, however they would benefit from a forum to share best practices, lessons learned, and create practical roadmaps for future large science projects involving international partners.