Project Orientations & Online Workshops

The Building with Biology project is designed to create conversations about synthetic biology between scientists and the public through Building with Biology events, which are taking place nationwide during the summer of 2016. Educational and professional development resources are included in the Building with Biology physical kit to help host site organizers train event volunteers. Online project orientations and science communication training opportunities will also be offered to staff, volunteers, and scientists participating in the Building with Biology events.

Why complete orientation?

Orientation will help scientists learn the context for the Building with Biology project, become aware of the types of questions to expect from participants during activities, and the importance of bringing this topic to the public discussion. Orientation also gives scientists a chance to network with other scientists who care about this program too!

What is ‘public engagement with science’ and why does it matter?

Public engagement with science describes intentional, meaningful interactions that provide opportunities for mutual learning between scientists and members of the public. Mutual learning refers not just to the acquisition of knowledge, but also to increased familiarity with a breadth of perspectives, frames, and worldviews.

What does the orientation entail?

We’re offering several orientation opportunities and resources to help prepare the scientists and volunteers facilitating hands-on activities at each Building with Biology event. This structure builds on the successful Building with Biology pilot orientation:   

  • Scientists and host site staff are invited to join an online community, on a platform called Trellis, that will connect them with peers across the Building with Biology network and provide informative materials about the project and public engagement. 
  • Three webinars will offer background context and give participants opportunities to practice public engagement basics, boosting their confidence before the events.
  • A separate Host Site Overview - Communicating Synthetic Biology webinar will familiarize host site organizers with the orientation materials.
  • On-site orientations at host sites, which can be offered before or on the day of your event, will review public engagement fundamentals and familiarize scientists and volunteers with the activities. 

What is included in the webinars?

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will host three webinars on Tuesdays and Thursdays in late May and early June. Each will repeat (live) once; afterwards, the webinar content will be archived. The webinars will ground the Building with Biology hands-on activities in public engagement research and best practices, preparing scientists to approach the on-site activities as conversations and opportunities to learn from visitors. The webinars will be interactive, offering another opportunity for scientists to ‘meet’ other project volunteers.

Webinar Schedule & Registration

Project orientation webinars are free to partcipate in and will be archived online.

Building with Biology: Public Engagement Fundamentals (for scientists)  Presented by AAAS - The Building with Biology project is an example of public engagement with science. Explore the value of communicating with the public. 

Building with Biology: All about Audiences (for scientists)Presented by AAAS - Understanding your audience helps you communicate more effectively. Learn about Americans' perceptions of synthetic biology and consider the audiences you may be interacting with. 

Building with Biology: Communicating Synthetic Biology (for scientists)Presented by AAAS – Practice speaking clearly and concisely about synthetic biology, with an emphasis on one’s own research.

Join the online community!

More scientists are engaging public audiences and find that it benefits them personally and professionally. Scientists also enjoy connecting with other scientists who do the same.

We invite scientists and host site staff to join an free online community, called Trellis, to connect with peers across the Building with Biology network, access informative materials about the project and public engagement, share experiences, and provide tips and feedback.  Email public_engagement@aaas.org to join.