Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Comment
  • Published:

A guide to science communication training for doctoral students


Effective science communication is necessary for engaging the public in scientific discourse and ensuring equitable access to knowledge. Training doctoral students in science communication will instill principles of accessibility, accountability, and adaptability in the next generation of scientific leaders, who are poised to expand science’s reach, generate public support for research funding, and counter misinformation. To this aim, we provide a guide for implementing formal science communication training for doctoral students.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: The three As of effective science communicators.


  1. Steinbeck, J. The Log From the Sea of Cortez (Penguin, 2001).

  2. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO Science Report 2021: the Race Against Time for Smarter Development (United Nations, 2021).

  3. Croxson, P. L., Neeley, L. & Schiller, D. Nat. Hum. Behav. 5, 1466–1468 (2021).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Rein, B. Cell 185, 3059–3065 (2022).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Weingart, P. & Guenther, L. J. Sci. Commun. 15, C01 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Fischhoff, B. & Scheufele, D. A. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 110, 14031–14032 (2013). (Suppl. 3).

  7. Grorud-Colvert, K., Lester, S. E., Airamé, S., Neeley, E. & Gaines, S. D. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 18306–18311 (2010).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders: the Evidence for Stigma Change (National Academies Press, 2016).

  9. Neeley, L. et al. Front. Commun. 5, 35 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Goldstein, C. M., Murray, E. J., Beard, J., Schnoes, A. M. & Wang, M. L. Ann. Behav. Med. 54, 985–990 (2020).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Gascoigne, T. et al. (eds.) Communicating Science: A Global Perspective (ANU Press, 2020).

  12. Rein, B. Neuroscience 530, 192–200 (2023).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank P. Croxson for her involvement as co-founder of the effective science communication course. We also thank the various teaching assistants over the years, who were actively involved in shaping the course: T. Fehr, C. Lardner, C. Guevara and M. O’Brien.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniela Schiller.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Maher, C., Gyles, T., Nestler, E.J. et al. A guide to science communication training for doctoral students. Nat Neurosci (2024).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing