Applications Now Open for CCST’s Science Translators Showcase

November 12, 2019 | , ,  

Apply for the 2020 CCST Science Translators ShowcaseCalling California Grad Students and Postdocs: Apply for CCST’s Science Translators Showcase!

SACRAMENTO, CA | November 12, 2019

Contact: Jeffery Song, [email protected]; Office: (916) 492-0996

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) is excited to seek graduate students, postdocs, and early-career faculty in California for the CCST Science Translators Showcase, held as part of our 2020 Science & Technology Week at the California State Capitol!

The chosen translators will get a chance to explain their research to legislative staffers, agency managers, and senior policy leaders during a networking event at the California State Capitol. We’re looking for candidates who are eager to learn and practice science communication skills and convey the relevance of their research to public policy questions. The goal of this experience is to improve their skills in offering impartial, nonpartisan advice to decision makers, to meet other amazing researchers, and to proudly represent their home institution.

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Must be a current masters or PhD student, or a postdoc, in a science or engineering field at a California university or college. Graduate students and postdocs at NASA and U.S. Department of Energy laboratories in California are also eligible. Early-career faculty from California Community Colleges are also invited to apply.
  • Must be available to travel to Sacramento for the day-long event on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020. Translators will receive reimbursement for mileage or airfare and ground transportation. They will also participate in four separate hour-long training webinars ahead of the event (scheduled for Thursday Jan. 9th, Jan. 16th, Jan. 23rd, and Jan 30th at 2pm PST).

Showcase applications are due by 11:59 p.m. PST, Wednesday, December 4th, 2019.

Apply here:

*If you have trouble accessing the application, please sign in using your Google account.

A critical component of the application process is a 60-second audition video. In it, applicants must explain their research and how it helps inform potential policy solutions in California. This is the applicant’s chance to demonstrate their ability to engagingly and concisely translate technical information, tailoring their message and delivery to a senior policymaking audience and staff. Selection will take place in early December, and candidates will be chosen based on the quality of their auditions, and to represent a diversity of research topics, home institutions, and personal experiences.

“The CCST Science Translators Showcase is an excellent opportunity for researchers interested in science policy to engage with decision makers, especially for graduate students who are not yet able to apply for our CCST Science Fellows program,” says Sarah Brady PhD, CCST Deputy Director. “CCST is excited to present some of the state’s most engaging early career researchers to the Capitol audience for what will be our third installment of the Science Translators Showcase series.”

CCST debuted its “Science Translators Showcase” event series in February 2018 at the California State Capitol during CCST’s Science & Technology Week, where 15 graduate students and postdocs from California campuses networked with legislators and staffers for an afternoon session. This event will be the 3rd one in the series. CCST also held a special edition “Climate Science Translators Showcase” at Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in September 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where do I apply?
The application can be found here:

What is the CCST Science Translators Showcase Program?
The CCST Science Translators Showcase Program aims to recruit graduate student researchers and postdoctoral researchers at leading California research institutions who are eager to practice their science communication skills in conveying the relevance of their research to public policy applications. Hosted in conjunction with CCST events in the California State Capitol and elsewhere, the program experience is designed to help rising STEM stars polish their craft and instinct for effectively delivering impartial, nonpartisan advice to decision makers — by bringing them face to face with legislative staffers, agency managers, and senior policy leaders.

What is the format of a CCST Science Translators Showcase?
The event format intentionally breaks from academic tradition: instead of presenting large posters or lengthy slideshows packed with dense jargon, participants will simply be armed with their flair for conversation and their budding talent for communicating science in an open-networking setting.Showcase participants will be stationed throughout an event space, and event guests will be able to roam about freely to mingle, meet, and chat with each participant. Showcase participants must be ready to adapt and adjust their message and conversational approach depending on the title and expertise of the guest they are speaking to — hence the program’s emphasis on a 60-second audition video demonstrating a candidate’s ability and energy for concise messaging and engaging dialog.

Why are early-career faculty from California Community Colleges eligible to apply, but not those from other California institutions?
CCST’s Science Translators Showcase Program aims to elevate graduate and postgraduate researchers who are making valuable contributions to California’s strength in research and discovery. The California Community Colleges System is one of CCST’s important institutional partners; they form a critical part ofCalifornia’s STEM innovation landscape and recruit some of our State’s most promising doctoral graduates and postdoctoral researchers into their instructional rosters. Whereas many of our partner institutions employ large numbers of graduate students and postdocs in their research programs, the California Community Colleges typically do not. By highlighting the contributions of new community college instructors, CCST can include recent grad students and postdocs who may have a perspective different than those in other research settings.

What kind of training and preparation is offered by CCST for showcase participants?

All invited participants must attend a series of webinar workshops hosted by CCST. The webinars offer geographically distant participants a chance to get to know one another ahead of the event and help one another improve their messaging. The webinar curriculum will cover essential skills such as science communications basics and understanding decision makers as an audience. Additional webinars and office hours will guide participants in refining their delivery, conversational approaches, and messaging slogans.

Who will be the guest audience for the 2020 CCST Science Translators Showcase?

The February 2020 showcase will take place during CCST’s Science & Technology Week at the StateCapitol in Sacramento — which will see leaders in the policymaking area, including legislative staffers, state agency managers, and even State Senators or Assemblymembers depending on their availability. There will also be current and former CCST Science Fellows, many of whom now work in the Legislature or state government, as well as experts from CCST’s Partner Institutions.

What kind of research and expertise is CCST looking to showcase?

We welcome applicants from a wide array of research areas, with a particular focus on research that affects or could be applied to Californians — be it urban planning, public health, ecological health, natural hazards, monitoring, computing, engineering, energy, agriculture, waste management or any number of other topics. All applicants must be able to concisely describe their research topic, and how it helps inform potential policy solutions for California.


About the California Council on Science and Technology

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established via the California State Legislature in 1988. CCST engages leading experts in science and technology to advise state decision makers ― ensuring that California policy is strengthened and informed by scientific knowledge, research, and innovation.

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