Document Type


Publication Date



The impacts of science are felt across all socio-ecological levels, ranging from the individual to societal. In order to adapt or respond to scientific discoveries, novel technologies, or biomedical or environmental challenges, a fundamental understanding of science is necessary. However, antiscientific rhetoric, mistrust in science, and the dissemination of misinformation hinder the promotion of science as a necessary and beneficial component of our world. Scientists can promote scientific literacy by establishing dialogues with nonexperts, but they may find a lack of formal training as a barrier to public engagement. To address this, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) launched the Art of Science Communication course in 2015 in order to provide scientists at all career stages with introductory science communication training. In 2020, we conducted a retrospective survey of former participants to evaluate how the course had impacted participants’ science communication behaviors and their confidence engaging with nonexperts, as well as other benefits to their professional development. We found that scientists were significantly more likely to communicate with nonexpert audiences following the course compared to before (77% versus 51%; P < 0.0001). In addition, quantitative and qualitative data suggested that scientists were more confident in their ability to communicate science after completing the course (median of 8, standard deviation [SD] of 0.98 versus median of 5, SD of 1.57; P < 0.0001). Qualitative responses from participants supported quantitative findings. This suggested that the Art of Science Communication course is highly effective at improving the confidence of scientists to engage with the public and other nonexpert audiences regardless of career status. These data-driven perspectives provide a rationale for the implementation of broadly accessible science communication training programs that promote public engagement with science.


This article was originally published in Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education in 2023.

jmbe.00037-23-s0001.pdf (235 kB)
Supplemental Material


The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.