Training future population researchers is critical to advancing our understanding of demographic and social phenomena, and an ongoing challenge is making evidence-based population information and materials both understandable and accessible to decisionmakers, advocates, and the media. Under this R-25 application, PRB proposes to extend its highly regarded training in policy communication to current and previous (pre-doc) NICHD training center grantees so that they learn written and oral skills for translating research findings, making emerging evidence more useful to policy audiences both in the United States and around the world. The main objectives of the program are to: (1) Address barriers that researchers face in communicating population-related research results to policy audiences;(2) Modify PRB's successful international policy communication seminar to create an effective and unique 1-week curriculum in policy communication specifically for U.S. doctoral students in demography and population sciences;(3) Engage a diverse group of doctoral students (future population professionals) in policy communication over their careers;(4) Teach population scientists about: the process by which research informs the policy environment, how to identify and communicate the policy implications of their research, and various tools/skills for communicating findings to U.S. policy audiences. To achieve these objectives, PRB will annually recruit graduate students who apply on a competitive basis and select approximately 14 of them to participate in a two-part training program: a seven-day workshop during the summer, followed by writing assignments during the academic year. Recruitment will be focused on students who are far enough along in their dissertation research-generally between the third and fifth year of their doctoral program-so that they have their own findings to use in the program's writing and presentation exercises. During the summer workshop, participants will learn the skills necessary to effectively communicate research findings to policy audiences. The workshop includes exercises in both writing and presenting, giving participants experience in using their own dissertation research findings as the basis for communication skill building. Participants will meet in small working groups led by a PRB mentor to discuss their research, identify its policy relevance, and develop a presentation for policymakers based on research findings. PRB mentors also provide guidance in carrying out exercises in writing Web articles and policy briefs. PRB's program activities reflect our understanding of the population sciences and underlie our commitment to fostering an evidence-based policy environment. PRB's staff offers a wide range of expertise and professional experiences working on critical population issues that shape social and economic forces in the United States and globally. Located in Washington, D.C., PRB has access to key public and private agencies-National Science Foundation, World Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development-that are open to collaborating with PRB as guest speakers or holding meetings with groups of interested Fellows.
Training future population researchers is critical to advancing our understanding of demographic and social phenomena. An ongoing challenge is making evidence-based population information both understandable and accessible to people who need to use that information- decision makers, advocates, and the media. When researchers can communicate evidence effectively, decision makers are better able to use this information to develop better public health policies and programs that address underlying problems and offer feasible solutions.