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Bullet events, workshops · May 18, 2023

Writing for Impact and Influence

AIBS is offering this course in partnership with the Center for Wildlife Studies. cws

Photo credit: Jens Kreuter

Photo credit: Jens Kreuter

Course Description:

Effective science communication has long held the power to reshape our world by driving changes in policy and public opinion. As society struggles with pandemic effects, anthropogenic climate change, and dwindling biodiversity, there is an acute need for scientist–communicators who can effectively convey the spectacular power of research to address these obstacles. In this course, early-career researchers will learn skills for high-impact, immediate engagement with readers, including decision-makers, colleagues, and members of the lay public. Unlike traditional writing courses, this course is focused on capturing audience attention in concrete ways that compel action, using common professional formats such as op-eds, memoranda, press releases, one-pagers, and blog entries. The workshop-driven program also includes instruction on publishing mechanics, covering topics such as pitching your work to editors, establishing an online presence, and achieving proficiency with graphic design fundamentals.




This online course consists of pre-recorded lectures, each of which has an associated short writing assignment. Students will meet live each week with the instructor for a small-group workshop in which they will share and critique each other’s work (see schedule below).


August 7 - September 17, 2023


Week 1:

  • Science Blogging: Taking advantage of existing platforms, as well as setting up your own.

Week 2:

  • One Pagers: Using online tools to design eye-catching flyers and infographics.

Week 3:

  • Press Releases: Writing for newswires and science journalism outlets, with additional information on working with institutional communications professionals to help promote your work.

Week 4:

  • Media: Getting set up, finding your voice, and having an impact (even if your existing following is small).

Week 5:

  • Op-Eds and Commentaries: Persuasive writing for the general public and policymakers.

Week 6:

  • Memoranda: Writing to drive decision-making within your organization.
  • Synthesis: Bringing the course’s approach to bear on other forms of writing and positioning yourself to say “yes” when there’s an opportunity to write.


  • Early bird course fee (ends July 9) : $550 professional / $400 student
  • Regular course fee (after July 9): $600 professional / $450 student


James Verdier
Senior Editor, BioScience
American Institute of Biological Sciences