Communicating Science Programs and Initiatives

The Office of the Scientific Director has launched several initiatives to help researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital better communicate their science to the public.
Mass General researchers interacting with kids at the Cambridge Science Festival
Mass General researchers interacting with kids at the Cambridge Science Festival
Mass General researchers interacting with kids at the Cambridge Science Festival

Links and Resources

11 Tips for Communicating Science

Monica Metzler (executive director of the Illinois Science Council) gave tips on how scientists can succeed at public outreach.

Bad Presentation Bingo

Bad Presentation Bingo is an effort by the Illinois Science Council to encourage scientists to be considerate of their audiences (especially public).

Staying Afloat: Rising Tide Science

New York Times columnist and science writer Carl Zimmer discusses the challenges of effectively communicating with the public about science.

Scientific Jargon: When to Use and Avoid

A Duke University Thompson Writing Program guide

Writing in the Sciences

Writing advice from the University of Toronto

Talk Nerdy to Me (TED Talk)

Melissa Marshall's message to all scientists (from non-scientists): We're fascinated by what you're doing. Tell us about it in a way we understand.

Communicating Science

Resource from the University of Miami

Why We Need to Talk About Science

Did you know that according to a recent survey, at least 27% of Americans are still somewhat skeptical about science?

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are making amazing discoveries that have the potential to transform science and medicine, but we aren't always great at telling the public about our work and why it matters.

Through workshops, competitions and community events, we're committed to helping our researchers find engaging new ways to share their work with the public.

We hope you'll join us in spreading the word about science and the valuable role it plays in improving healthcare here at Mass General and across the globe.


We have organized a series of communicating science competitions in collaboration with city-wide festivals such as HUBweek and the Cambridge Science Festival.

These fun, American Idol-style events give researchers an opportunity to present their science to live audience and receive feedback from a panel of celebrity judges.

We also host educational workshops that provide our researchers with training and advice from leaders in science communication, including speakers from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, and nationally-known science communication expert Melissa Marshall.

Community Events

We are also working in the community to connect with science enthusiasts of all ages.

Our participation in the Cambridge Science Festival’s family-friendly Science Carnival and Robot Zoo was a way to engage the next generation of scientists through interactive games and activities.

Our inaugural Spring 2018 Science Slam at a local pub was a huge success, and we have plans to host a series of similar on- and off-campus events in the future.

Through videos, exercises, and lectures, these presentations provide invaluable tips for identifying and overcoming barriers to good science communication.


In addition to our in-person events, we regularly share tips and resources for being effective science communicators on our blog, through email and by social media.

Our Eight Great Tips for Communicating Science

1. Keep it simple—focus on a few key points and stick to them
2. Start with a bang—open with an interesting story to grab the audience's attention
3. Use plain language—avoid scientific jargon whenever possible
4. Set the stage—what is the problem you are trying to solve, and how are you trying to solve it?
5. Explain the process—how is your approach unique?
6. Plot your course—where are you in the process? Where did you start? Where do you hope to arrive?
7. Save time for questions
8. Smile, make eye contact, speak up and have fun!

Mass General Research Institute

Research at Massachusetts General Hospital began over 200 years ago. Today, the Mass General Research Institute is home to the largest hospital-based research program in the United States.