Pacific Science Center (PSC) proposes Out of the Lab and Into the Spotlight (OLIS), a five-year project to bring current and fascinating information about health science research to Pacific Northwest audiences. Through a series of showcases that change content every six months, the Research Focus Gallery will highlight cutting-edge local research. The Gallery, a combined exhibit and program space, will feature multimedia displays, research artifacts, hands-on exhibits, and a presentation area where local researchers will communicate their work to visitors. An annual, three-day research festival and monthly Science Cafes in three locations will complement the programs presented in the Gallery and will provide multiple venues for a variety of audiences to meet face-to-face with local researchers and learn about health science and related careers. Out of the Lab and Into the Spotlight will further the goals of the Science Education Partnership Award by 1) connecting the community to NIH-funded research and 2) increasing the awareness of young people in the Puget Sound region about careers in scientific research. An in-depth evaluation conducted by the external evaluator, Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment, will measure the effectiveness of the project in reaching the following outcomes: * The extent to which the program informs PSC visitors about the wide variety of NIH-funded research being performed in the region;specifically, whether PSC visitors have an increased understanding of the various research areas presented. * The impact of the program on over 100 scientist participants;specifically scientists'ability to communicate research ideas to the public and their interest in future participation. * The ability of PSC program developers to develop a future-ready space;specifically if the developed showcases and templates are adaptable to future content areas. The proposed project will draw upon our established relationships with local research organizations that together receive close to one billion dollars annually from NIH. The project leverages and deepens relationships that already exist between each of these institutions and PSC to enhance science learning in our community in novel ways. The primary audience for OLIS will be families and school groups, ages eight and older drawn from over 800,000 annual visitors. As a standalone element within the new Wellness exhibit due to open in 2011, we anticipate the Gallery will reach three to four million visitors during the grant period and up to five million additional visitors in the subsequent five years.
Individuals need to obtain process and understand basic health information to make appropriate health decisions (Healthy People, 2010). The proposed project, Out of the Lab and Into the Spotlight will provide opportunities for the general public to increase their understanding of current health information and increase their awareness of cutting-edge research taking place in their own backyard. By engaging with research scientists in several venues, the public will be exposed to NIH funded research and health science careers.