Writing About Research for Impact & Influence Online Course

Photo of a desk with a keyboard, mouse, phone, notebook, headphones, computer screen, plant, and book on top

Date and Time:

Monday, March 14, 2022, 9:00am to Friday, April 22, 2022, 11:59pm

Registration Deadline:

Sunday, March 13, 2022, 11:59pm


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Effective science communication has long held the power to reshape our world by driving changes in policy and public opinion. As society struggles with an ongoing pandemic, anthropogenic climate change, and dwindling biodiversity, there is an acute need for scientist–communicators who can effectively convey the spectacular power of research to address these obstacles. In this course, early-career researchers will learn skills for high-impact, immediate engagement with readers, including decision-makers, colleagues, and members of the lay public. Unlike traditional writing courses, this course is focused on capturing audience attention in concrete ways that compel action, using common professional formats such as op-eds, memoranda, press releases, one-pagers, and blog entries. The workshop-driven program also includes instruction on publishing mechanics, covering topics such as pitching your work to editors, establishing an online presence, and achieving proficiency with graphic design fundamentals.


WEEK 1 - Science Blogging: Taking advantage of existing platforms, as well as setting up your own.

WEEK 2 - One Pagers: Using online tools to design eye-catching flyers and infographics.

WEEK 3 - Press Releases: Writing for newswires and science journalism outlets, with additional information on working with institutional communications professionals to help promote your work.

WEEK 4 - Media: Getting set up, finding your voice, and having an impact (even if your existing following is small).

WEEK 5 - Op-Eds and Commentaries: Persuasive writing for the general public and policymakers.

WEEK 6 - Memoranda: Writing to drive decision-making within your organization. Synthesis: Bringing the course's approach to bear on other forms of writing and positioning yourself to say "yes" when there's an opportunity to write.


FORMAT: Learn at your own pace over 6 weeks by watching prerecorded lectures, each of which has an associated short writing assignment. Students will meet live every Wednesday from 11am - 12:20pm EST, for a small-group workshop in which they will share and critique each other's work.

INSTRUCTOR: James M. Verdier, Senior Editor, BioScience, American Institute of Biological Sciences

Contact Email:


Contact Name:

Jessica Kennelly