Training

We've trained over 150 scientists from across disciplines and across the world to tell great stories about their work. In the process, we've built a community and publishing platform that helps researchers, communicators, and policymakers work together to reach and engage key audiences. Now, we're offering our program to science-driven organizations, institutes, research groups, and companies. 

Is that you? Get in touch!

Our Philosophy

Lots of organizations run science communication trainings. But Massive’s is different: we believe that communication is a tool to achieve an end – like attracting donors, convincing policymakers to adopt positions, sparking cross-organizational collaboration, or informing communicators inside the organization to make them more effective. That’s why we use practice-based training that teaches scientists to produce a tangible product in multi-disciplinary groups, shows them the immediate impact of their work on a real audience, and leaves them and their organizations with the skills, support structures, and desire to keep communicating.

Narrative

We don’t just train scientists to explain their work to lay audiences. We train them to tell stories about science. Why is this distinction important? Because narrative storytelling is the way human beings naturally process ideas. Don’t take our word for it: the best science we have says the most effective way to communicate science to any audience – donors, communicators, policymakers, or the public – is through narrative. Even scientists love a good yarn. New research shows that climate scientists who write papers in a narrative style are cited more often than those who don’t.

Practice

Like any skill, learning to craft narratives takes practice. Most trainings last a few hours and teach only underlying principles. We think that’s a great starting point, but it’s unlikely to give scientists durable skills that they’ll be able to build on and use over time. That’s why our trainings focus on repeated practice, and take place over the course of a month in our online community. Scientists learn the underlying principles, but they also work with peers and professional editors to produce multiple tangible products. When training ends, we don’t cut researchers loose – they remain part of our community, giving them the support structure to keep practicing their new skills. This combination leads to real behavioral change. 60% of the scientists who go through our online trainings write at least one more time in the next 3 months, and many write much more than that.

Impact

We think building communication skills is great. But we believe having an impact is even better. When scientists work with us, we make the argument for science communication by showing them all the research on why it’s good for society and good for their careers. But they also see the impact of their work on real audiences, in real-time. We’ve built an audience of science-curious people that cuts across traditional demographics and political beliefs and, research shows, is more receptive to new information about science. When researchers publish stories designed to reach the science-curious on MassiveSci.com or their organization’s website, they receive tweets, questions, emails, and evaluations from peers, policymakers, and members of the public that proves their work is being read and engaged with. We’re also working with science communication researchers on a formal study of the impact of our work. And we can consult with organizations to tailor trainings so that scientists learn the most effective ways to reach the specific audiences that matter most to the organization.

Massive Training Cohorts

We teach scientists narrative storytelling in monthlong, online training cohorts with other researchers and communicators in their organization and/or our community of scientists.

Researchers leave training with with:

Cohorts are designed to fit around the busy schedules of active researchers. They last one month, require 3-5 hours of time per week, and are conducted remotely online via video calls and our Slack community.

Sample Schedule

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Second articles are published the week after training ends.

Key Results

We use before and after surveys, feedback calls, and audience data to measure success. Here are a few of our key results from our 150+ trainees to date.

Training builds confidence in key abilities

“I can describe myself as a science communicator.”

Before training: 57% agree
After training: 84% agree

“I can describe myself as a scientist.”

Before training: 85% agree
After training: 94% agree

Training makes researchers better scientists

“Being taught to think about science from the vantage of a storyline has been really helpful, both in my writing and at the bench as well.”  - Benjamin Bell, Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University

Research: Learning to communicate science helps scientists write better theses.

Training + community leads to cross-disciplinary connections and richer science

“This is one (more) amazing thing about Massive and why you should join. So many great scientists from different fields working together gives us all a chance to learn stuff (and read papers) we'd never otherwise come across in our professional careers.” - Devang Mehta, Plant Biology, ETH Zurich

Our growing community has 200 (and growing) members from over 150 institutions, 20 countries, and 130 sub-fields.

Training + support leads to lasting behavioral change

“I like having a big platform and incentive to write, since I found that blogging independently takes too much personal commitment.” - Ana Gorelova, Molecular Pharmacology, University of Pittsburg

60% of researchers who complete Massive’s training write at least one more article in the next 3 months.

Training + real-world publishing leads to new opportunities

“At the end of September, my second article for Massive went up…A couple weeks later, on a Friday night while I was enjoying unwinding from a long week of experiments, I was contacted by a young BBC radio producer asking if I’d like to be interviewed live on their radio program.” - Kevin Pels, Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute

Massive stories have been syndicated and linked to in Slate, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard Magazine, Gizmodo, The Daily Beast, Salon, Nation Swell, and more.

Training Team

Nadja Oertelt

“I’ve done neuroscience research at labs across the country and worked as a video producer for HarvardX, Buzzfeed, Vice and Mashable. I love helping scientists find the stories within their work that will resonate with the public.”


Kira Goldenberg

“I’ve helped academics and reporters edit and hone their writing for the public as an editor at The Guardian and at the Columbia Journalism Review. I love working with people to make their writing the best it can possibly be.”


Gabe Stein

“I’ve worked in audience development, product management and engineering at Upworthy, Fast Company, Google, and Ogilvy. I love combining technology and media to help great stories reach wide audiences.”


Contact

Interested in learning more? Send a note to partners@massivesci.com.