Science Communicators: Research @ CEPS

What is Science Communicators?

It’s an opportunity for CEPS’ graduate students to help the college tell its research story. You will gain invaluable paid experience to translate research projects into engaging content for our website and social platforms. You will learn how to interview, communicate and produce communication pieces that promote the research excellence of our faculty and students. This initiative is similar to CBS’s SCRIBE program for graduate students and the University’s SPARK program for undergraduate students.

You will also:

  • build your CV through publications and outreach
  • gain valuable writing experience and training
  • develop your research translation and mobilization skills
  • And make a significant contribution to the communication and outreach goals of the College.

What is the process and deliverable?

Annually, Science Communicators aims to publish 20 research highlights. These research highlights are 500-word pieces that summarize and translate research publications coming out of the College. These highlights are written in plain and accessible language for broad audiences and are amplified by the College through various communication platforms, including the College website and social media (Twitter and Instagram). The CEPS Research Manager (CRM) may approve Q&A’s with researchers or select human interest pieces on a case by case basis.

The CRM serves as program coordinator and, in collaboration with College Graduate Studies Manager (CGSM) and College Marketing and Communications Manager (CMCM) edits and provides feedback to writers.

How does Science Communicators work?

The following is a step-by-step process to get involved and participate in Science Communicators.

  1. Apply: student writers are ‘recruited’ via a general call for interest across the College each semester. Generally, the program aims to have a maximum of 10 active writers per year. Preference is given to students who have been in their program for at minimum one semester and will be in their program for at least one additional year. At the time of application, students must provide their CV and a general writing sample that is used to ensure that selected writers meet a minimum standard in terms of general writing ability (e.g., grammar, spelling and sentence structure). This writing sample should be modeled after published CEPS research highlights. Only selected students are invited to participate in the program. Application deadlines are as follows:
    1. March 15
    2. June 14
    3. October 18
  2. Get Trained: Selected students will engage in one-on-one training with the CRM. The training can be conducted in person or remotely. The goals of the training session are to: review the Science Communicators initiative, receive instruction and tips and tricks for writing as a CEPS communicator, review conducting an interview with a researcher and provide time to ask questions.
  3. Select a Story: Once students have completed their training, it is time to select and sign up to write a research highlight. CEPS encourages student writers to select recently published, no older than 3 months, journal articles or conference publications written by CEPS faculty and/or students to focus their research highlight on. These articles should be in high impact journals or conferences. The CRM will approve all stories. The CRM may approve Q&A’s with researchers or select human interest pieces on a case by case basis. CEPS publishes research highlights from each of our departments and schools equally, so students are encouraged to select pieces that ensure an equitable distribution of coverage. If students need ideas the CRM maintains a list of publications and can assist with selection.
  4. Write your piece: Once a student has signed up for an article, they then will have approximately 2 weeks to interview their key story subjects (typically a CEPS faculty member, write their piece and submit a draft to the CRM. The CRM will review and edit the article as necessary to ensure quality and a reasonable level of consistency and provide the student writer with feedback. Once a final draft has been approved by the CRM, the student is responsible for sending the draft to the publishing researcher for review and final approval. The student will also be responsible for developing the story title and summary, selecting a lead story image, obtaining CEPS faculty and student headshots, sourcing any additional images that provide a snapshot into the research, and including all pertinent links and drafting social media posts.
  5. Publication: When a story is approved it will be posted on the CEPS website and shared via social media. Selected stories may also be featured in the CEPS Annual Report and/or College newsletters.
  6. Get Paid: Students will be paid once a semester for all stories that they have written, submitted and published during that period. Students receive $50 per article. The CRM tracks the number of articles published per student and liaises with the CEPS Associate Director, Finance & Operations to arrange these payments, which will be charged to the Dean’s Office.

Want to become a Science Communicator?

  If you are interested please contact Bethany Davidson-Eng, Acting College Research Manager (