There are days I agonize over words. Do they say what I intend? Are they eloquent enough? Are my words too…wordy? For a scientist or clinician, how you choose to present your ideas is critical. A well-written proposal can fund an entire lab. A concise explanation can help a patient understand his problem. Or a tangible model might better show the binding site of a protein. If you haven’t guessed by now, this month we’re focusing on how to communicate information well.
Dr. Payal Ray’s recap of the recent proposal writing workshop captures the dos and don’ts of grant proposal writing. She highlights the most important sections of the proposal and offers writing examples to help you get started. You might have wonderful ideas, but it takes a distinct proposal to get them funded, especially in today’s fiscal climate (but that’s for another issue).
Sometimes it takes more than writing or pictures to explain a technical concept. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a physical model is worth a million pictures. Three-dimensional printing, the process of layering materials via a printer, allows scientists to create tangible biological entities or even custom lab equipment. Erin Fincher writes about the new NIH 3D Print Exchange and how it has benefited our scientific community.
If a language barrier inhibits your ability to communicate, you might find relief with Mango Languages. Jeffrey Roberson reviews this free-through-OITE tool in his article. If you try it out, let us know what you think!
Also inside, check out excerpts from the 2014 NICHD Mentors of the Year nominations, our first Three-minute-Talk winners (who won due to their concise communication skills), and August announcements and events.
In the words of Dr. Philip Abelson: “The quiet personal satisfactions of work in the laboratory are important to the individual. Research, however, is just a pleasant hobby unless its results are evaluated and incorporated into the total body of knowledge. Thus it is the communication process which is at the core of the vitality and integrity of science.”1
Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD
Please send questions and comments to Shana.Spindler@gmail.com.
1. The roots of scientific integrity, Editorial in Science (29 March 1963) 139: 1257 [DOI: 10.1126/science.139.3561.1257]