Broadening the impact of plant science through innovative, integrative, and inclusive outreach

Friesner, Joanna
Macintosh, Gustavo
Macintosh, Gustavo
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Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Population growth and climate change will impact food security and potentially exacerbate the environmental toll that agriculture has taken on our planet. These existential concerns demand that a passionate, interdisciplinary, and diverse community of plant science professionals is trained during the 21st century. Furthermore, societal trends that question the importance of science and expert knowledge highlight the need to better communicate the value of rigorous fundamental scientific exploration. Engaging students and the general public in the wonder of plants, and science in general, requires renewed efforts that take advantage of advances in technology and new models of funding and knowledge dissemination. In November 2018, funded by the National Science Foundation through the Arabidopsis Research and Training for the 21st century (ART 21) research coordination network, a symposium and workshop were held that included a diverse panel of students, scientists, educators, and administrators from across the US. The purpose of the workshop was to re‐envision how outreach programs are funded, evaluated, acknowledged, and shared within the plant science community. One key objective was to generate a roadmap for future efforts. We hope that this document will serve as such, by providing a comprehensive resource for students and young faculty interested in developing effective outreach programs. We also anticipate that this document will guide the formation of community partnerships to scale up currently successful outreach programs, and lead to the design of future programs that effectively engage with a more diverse student body and citizenry.


This white paper is published as Friesner, Joanna, Adán Colón‐Carmona, Alexandra M. Schnoes, Anna Stepanova, Grace Alex Mason, Gustavo C. Macintosh, Hemayat Ullah et al. "Broadening the impact of plant science through innovative, integrative, and inclusive outreach." Plant Direct 5, no. 4 (2021): e00316. doi:10.1002/pld3.316