The Public Education and Communication Committee (PECC) guides SfN's initiatives and programs centered on educating the public and neuroscience educators about neuroscience.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Oversee the creation and dissemination of accurate, accessible, and authoritative neuroscience information, targeting public audiences via BrainFacts.org, a public information initiative of The Kavli Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and SfN.
- Lead media outreach and support at the annual meeting and promote The Journal of Neuroscience articles to science and health reporters.
- Collaborate with the neuroscience and education communities to develop Neuroscience Core Concepts aimed at primary and secondary educators.
- Host the Brain Awareness Campaign in collaboration with the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.
- Collaborate with other organizations to reach science educators and encourage neuroscience education, leveraging both formal and informal strategies.
The Public Education and Communication Committee is part of the Public Outreach Cluster, which also includes the Committee on Animals in Research and the Government and Public Affairs Committee.
- Advise the Council of the Society for Neuroscience on print and digital products and services that promote core concepts and explain the progress and promise of neuroscience research.
- Serve as a source of information to Council on education issues pertaining to neuroscience education in the K-12 sector and informal science learning and public outreach. Advise Council on potential strategic partnerships with other professions/associations to accomplish the goals of the SfN strategic plan.
- Advise Council on the messages the Society should communicate through the membership to a variety of public audiences.
- Facilitate communication between the Society and media, including the transfer of new scientific knowledge developed by SfN members to the media, K-12 teachers, education leaders, advocacy groups, elected officials, and the public.
- Represent SfN in its partnership relationships with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI), and other educational organizations.
- Build the capacity of K-12 educators to integrate neuroscience content in science teaching activities through collaborative activities.
- Execute initiatives aimed at increasing the involvement of SfN members and chapters in public education and outreach, such as Brain Awareness Week.
- Increase involvement of SfN members and chapters in public education and outreach.
- Catalyze a shift in the professional culture of SfN members and chapters to more consistently include and embrace public communication, outreach, and education about neuroscience.
- Foster the integration of neuroscience content in formal and informal science learning by supporting the BrainFacts.org editorial board's efforts to provide online educational resources.
- Publicize to the media new neuroscience findings presented each year at the SfN annual meeting through a program of structured press briefings.
- Publicize new neuroscience findings published throughout the year in scientific journals through media relations outreach strategies with science reports and public information officers.
- Promote neuroscience research on topics of interest to the public through newsletters, brochures, and other print and digital products. Surface interesting neuroscience research topics to the BrainFacts.org EiC.
- Respond to media inquiries on neuroscience topics.
- Empower SfN members to engage in public dialogue and provide them with the tools to do so.
- Monitor trends in K-12 science education and curricula.
- Oversee the vetting of the scientific content of the Society's published materials by panels of scientists appropriately knowledgeable about the specific field discussed in the materials.
- Maintain a media resource directory of neuroscientists who are knowledgeable and at ease when speaking to science journalists.
- Conduct media training for SfN's leadership and the appropriate Committee leaders who may be communicating with members of the press on behalf of the Society.
- Review the compilation of media stories about neuroscience in order to measure how effectively the intended messages are getting across to the media and whether they are being communicated appropriately to the public.
- Evaluate each year's program of press releases and press conferences for effectiveness.
Coordinate and Communicate
- Coordinate and strategize with Government and Public Affairs Committee and the Committee on Animals in Research about suggestions for how to best use the Society's educational materials to inform policymakers and educators, and about new materials and products that should be developed and produced.
- Communicate with other Society groups such as the Program Committee and the editorial board of The Journal of Neuroscience and eNeuro as needed to help generate suggestions about key scientific discoveries, ideas and topics that should be targeted for communication to the media.
- Coordinate activities with the other committees in the Public Outreach Cluster, which also includes the Committee on Animals in Research and the Government and Public Affairs Committee. The Chair will serve as the committee's representative on the cluster steering committee.
The committee consists of standard committee members who serve a three-year term. Based on strategic priorities, liaisons to other SfN committees will be named on an ad-hoc basis and appointed for a single term. The incoming Chair and the Editor-in-Chief of BrainFacts.org serve as ex officio members of the committee. Committee members and the Chair are recommended by the Committee on Committees and approved by Council.
Meetings are held at least twice per year, once during the SfN annual meeting and once in the spring or summer, to establish initiatives for the upcoming year(s) and plan the annual meeting press room activities. Additional correspondence is conducted by e-mail and conference call, as needed, throughout the calendar year to address issues that arise between meetings of the full committee.
Public Education & Communication Committee
Fair, Damien A
University of Minnesota
Pena, Catherine Jensen
Life Sciences Institute, Zhejiang University
Penn State University
Kansas University, Lawrence
Burman, Michael A
University of New England
Bhattacharya, Martha R. C.
Tronson, Natalie C
University of Mchigan
McHugh, Thomas J
RIKEN Center for Brain Science
|Ex Officio Members||Term Ends|
Wingate, Richard J
King's Col London