A unique collection of outreach resources to communicate biomedical research

In collaboration with The Node.


Promoting the importance and awareness of Developmental Biology (and related disciplines) to the public has become an increasingly important aspect of our work, not only to please grant giving institutions but also to have long-term impact on science policies [LINK1] [LINK2]. Vice versa, effective science communication helps us to distil the essentials of our science and provide ideas of how to better sell our work to grant panels and publishers.

Science communication generally addresses decision makers such as politicians, other scientists (of importance especially in times of interdisciplinary research), or the general public (as an important driver of political decisions). Science communication resources tend to target these audiences either directly (explaining science), to support and facilitate outreach efforts of other scientists (providing tips, ideas, examples, materials), or to provide ideas and resources for teachers (to help them in their teaching efforts and, in turn, disseminate scientific content to wider audiences).

The jungle of science communication resources is getting denser by the day and, although the information and materials we need are ever more likely to be existing, they are becoming increasingly difficult to find. In the long term, it would be desirable to have dedicated search engines designed to identify query-adequate science communication resources. For now, since awareness is the first and most important step, we have collated a commented list of online resources concerning advice on science communication and examples/materials in the area of biomedical research. We hope this will help you find the required advice, ideas or materials that will save you from having to re-invent the wheel! To this end, see also our Special Issue in Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology about science communication, with a focus on advice, strategies and objective-driven long-term initiatives.

To keep this list functional and further improve coverage, please, make us of any broken links or further resource links appropriate for this list. Please, send an email to Andreas.Prokop@manchester.ac.uk and according changes will be made.

General resource pools for outreach

These are sites providing a wide range of advice, ideas and materials; note that the indicated recommendation for teachers (T) and/or researchers (R) is only a fair guess.

  • R – A special issue on Science communication in the field of fundamental biomedical research — [LINK]
  • The syllabuses for GCSE & A-level biology of AQA [LINK1] [LINK2] as well as Edexcel [LINK1] [LINK2]
  • RT – The syllabuses for GCSE & A-level biology of AQA [LINK1] [LINK2] as well as Edexcel [LINK1] [LINK2]
  • R – “National Co-ordination Centre for Public Engagement“, a fantastic resource guiding researchers from decision making to implementation — [LINK]
  • RT – the “University of Bristol Centre for Public Engagement” as a rich resource from strategy design to implementation — [LINK]
  • R – Science in Society resource of the “British Science Association“; this site has a complex structure but contains useful tips, links and resources — [LINK]
  • T – Resource collection of The Association for Science Education, promoting excellence in science teaching and learning — [LINK]
  • RSciComHub, a community and collection of resources focused on science education, outreach, and communication (SEOC) — [LINK]
  • CourseSource, an open-access journal of peer-reviewed teaching resources for college biological science courses — [LINK] – Also see links and rational on their “About” page — [LINK]
  • RT – The Science in society tab of the “BBSRC” providing resources and informing about events and strategies — [LINK]
  • RT – The RCUK public engagement site with tips, support and resources — [LINK1] — [LINK2]
  • R – The “Wellcome Trust’s” Public engagement — [LINK]
  • R – The “Wellcome Trust Blog“, a think tank for outreach; just click the various tags at the bottom of the side bar (e.g. Education, Public Engagement, Science communication/education) — [LINK]
  • R – Educational resources and events of the “Royal Society” — [LINK]
  • RT – strategies, ideas, thoughts about and easy activities for biology outreach put together by “The Node” — [LINK]
  • RT – Educational materials by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute — [LINK1] – [LINK2]
  • R – Tips from “vitae” for the engaging researcher — [LINK]
  • R – A beginners guide from the Manchester Beacon with tips for public engagement — [LINK]
  • RT – “Collaborative Digital Library of Life Sciences“, an archive of teaching resources in Biology; go to Search/Keyword and  type in “Developmental Biology” — [LINK]
  • R – “SDB CoRE“, a database of reference images, movies and diagrams for teaching Dev. Biol. — [LINK]
  • R – List of useful educational websites collated by the “Society for Developmental Biology” — [LINK]
  • RT – education resources for schools, undergraduates, postgraduates, continued learning and public/minorities by the “American Physiological Society (aps)” — [LINK]
  • R – Teaching resources for schools and higher education, education research and two publications by the “Royal Society of Biology” — [LINK]
  • RT – “Royal Institution” teaching resources including school shows, games, young scientist centre [LINK] as well as the educational resources based on the Christmas Lectures — [LINK]
  • RT – National Portal to the Public  (PoPNet): a network approach to science communication [LINK]
  • R – “EuroStemCell“; primarily film resources for teaching stem cell concepts — [LINK]
  • RT – “CurioCity“; primarily film resources for teaching stem cell concepts — [LINK]
  • RT – “Biological Sciences Review” – science articles relevant for A-level specifications, Scottish Higher and first year undergraduate courses (behind pay wall) – [LINK1] [LINK2] [LINK3]
  • RT – “Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN)” international organisation focussed on neuroscience education and research at the undergraduate level — [LINK]
  • RT – The Wellcome Trust’s “Big Picture” science communication online journal — [LINK]
  • RT – “National STEM Centre“; especially amongst the collections (filtered for biology) are valuable resources (e.g. Nuffield collections, Genes are us) — [LINK]
  • RT – Open source experiments, lesson plans & useful information by Backyard Brains — [LINK]
  • T – “resources4schools“; a vast collection of STEM resources — [LINK]
  • T – Simple experiments for schools by the “Nuffield Foundation” — [LINK]
  • RT – The “University of Utah’s Genetic Science Learning Center” of the  — [LINK]
  • R – Resources of the Genetics Society of America –[LINK]
  • RT – Education section of the “Biochemical Society” with a nice collection of resources (epigenetics, sciberbrain) — [LINK]
  • RT – A range of outreach resources from “The Centre of the Cell” — [LINK]
  • RT – “The Naked Scientists“; a media-savvy group of scientists from Cambridge University who use radio, live lectures, and the Internet to strip science, including biology, down to its bare essentials — [LINK]
  • RT – “The Embryo Project Encyclopedia” blog on embryology and developmental biology, with strong reference to history (follow their twitter feed on @embryoproject) — [LINK]
  • Dev Bio live“: blogposts by members of the Indian Society of Developmental Biologists — [LINK]
  • RT – iBiology videos with seminars on Development & Stem Cells [LINK] and Cell Biol. [LINK]
  • RT – The YouTube platform “Stated Clearly” with wonderful videos explaining biology to lay audiences — [LINK]
  • RT – “The Science Museum” with “Online science” and “Educators” resources — [LINK]
  • RSpecial PNAS issue about “the science of science communication” – [LINK1] [LINK2]
  • R – Special Issue of “Science magazine” about communication in science (primarily publishing & presentations) — [LINK]
  • R – Special science communication issue in “Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology” — [LINK]
  • RT – always worth a look: “The National Geographic” — [LINK]
  • RTScience channel collection as suggested by “IFLscience”; click any of these, and find more under the respective “channels” tabs — [LINK]
  • RT – podcasts of BBC science programmes including “The Life Scientific” [LINK], “Frontiers” [LINK], “Inside Science” [LINK] and “Material World” [LINK]
  • R – Science videos on the YouTube channel of the “Company of Biologists” — [LINK]
  • RT – Classical outreach videos; search for “Once upon a time… life” on youtube.com
  • RT – Classical outreach books; look in the left side bar under Subject area/Children’s books on the CSHL press site — [LINK]
  • RT – Different websites by Cold Spring Harbor‘s “DNA Learning Center” — [LINK]
  • T – Teacher videos by NOVA — [LINK]
  • T – Resources by the National Science Teacher association (NSTA) — [LINK]
  • RT BBC News article highlighting the importance of outreach work in schools — [LINK]
  • RT Guardian article: “How science can be a children’s playground for serious lessons — [LINK]
  • RT – Resources for schools by the University of Otago — [LINK]
  • RT – The “Your Genome” site by the Sanger Institute — [LINK]
  • R – Advocacy Tookit “Become an Advocate” by FASEB — [LINK]

Examples of strategy- or topic-driven initiatives

Sites which might help you to get ideas and get in contact.

  • RT – teacher resources: Amoeba Sisters — [LINK]
  • RT – Twitter feed: Google for education — [LINK]
  • RT – Primary schools resources by the BBC: Terrific Science — [LINK]
  • R – “Cambridge Shorts” combines science with the art of film making — [LINK]
  • RT – “acapellascience” – Science explained in pop songs — [LINK]
  • R – Science poetry by Sam Illingworth [LINK1] – [LINK2]
  • R – The Science Festival Alliance – [LINK]
  • R – Initiatives by the Cytomorph laboratory including “Architectures Cellulaires – Nuit Blanche 2013” and “The World First Cell Race” — [LINK]
  • R – The Wellcome Trust’s blog collection “Science writing tips”; public science writers share their tricks and thoughts — [LINK]
  • R – great blog “5 ways to improve your science writing” — [LINK]
  • R – Changing minds through science-inspired fashion — [LINK1] – [LINK2]
  • RT – Tom McFadden’s Science raps for pupils — [LINK]
  • RT – “Skype a Scientist” – matching scientists with K12 classrooms to give students the opportunity to meet ‘real scientists’ — [LINK]
  • R – Awareness of gobbledigook in science communication: a list of science terms translated into common English — [LINK]
  • RT – Collections of interviews with scientists by iBiology and Scientific23 — [LINK1] – [LINK2]
  • RT – “The Dana Foundation”: public outreach concerning the brain (see the tabs at very top) — [LINK]
  • RT – Outreach on infection and immunology by the Manchester Immunology Group (see “Public Activities” and “Impact and Resources” tabs) — [LINK]
  • RT – Molecular Jig Games: immune system computer games — [LINK]
  • RT – Cheeky Neurons: SciArt or SciToy inititative to explain epilepsy to children — [LINK]
  • RT – Outreach resources for Drosophila by the “Manchester Fly Facility” — [LINK]
  • RT – Outreach resources for Planarians by the Sanchez lab — [LINK1] – [LINK2]
  • RT – “microscopes-4-schools” describes affordable microscopes and suitable activities [LINK]; see also report on the NODE [LINK]
  • RT – “Microscopy4Kids a gateway to learning about digital microscopy — [LINK]
  • RT – The droso4schools initiative, aiming to establish Drosophila as a modern teaching tool in schools — [LINK]
  • RT – A project by Paula Kover for teaching Evolution in primary schools (including lesson plans) — [LINK]
  • RT – “BioEYES“: a partnership to advance K-12 science biology education through real world application  — [LINK1] [LINK2]
  • RT – Clark et al. (2016). Science Educational Outreach Programs That Benefit Students and Scientists. PLoS Biology 14, e1002368 — [LINK]
  • RTProject-based learning partership by Clarkson University — [LINK2] [LINK2]
  • RT – “faSCInate”: an education program of the Science & Engineering Education Research & Innovation Hub — [LINK]
  • RT – “The Student Enabled Network of Sensors for the Environment using Innovative Technology” (SENSE IT) — [LINK]
  • RT – Outreach site by the ISSCR: A closer look at stem cells — [LINK]
  • RT – Outreach on extracellular matrix run by the WT for Cell-Matrix Research — [LINK]
  • RT – Run your own podcasts; as an example see the one by the Faculty of Life Sciences in Manchester — [LINK]
  • R – Develop your own Wiki-book — [LINK]
  • RT – A Wiki designed to encourage collaboration between professional and hobby scientists — [LINK1] – also commented in The Node – [LINK2]
  • RTRun your own experiments and report them; as an example see “How a school girl chose Drosophila to demonstrate the superior quality of organic fruits” — [LINK]
  • R – A strategy to use final year undergraduate projects to generate outreach materials (exemplified by cell migration) — [LINK]
  • RT – Minute lectures by the Faculty of Life Sciences in Manchester — [LINK]
  • RTThe “Cartoon guides to …. science” by Larry Gonick — [LINK]
  • RT – Sci comm YouTube channel “Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell” — [LINK]
  • RAn article about designing MOOCs by R. Redfield — [LINK]
  • RTSense about science: an initiative to change public debates and make sense of science and evidence — [LINK]
  • RTThe Guardian article by  about the degree and scope of outreach of UK science museums [LINK]
  • R – “ZOONIVERSE” citizen science projects — [LINK] — see also a Drosophila citizen science project — [LINK]
  • RTFrontiers for Young Minds“, a journal for kids, peer reviewed by kids — [LINK1] – [LINK2]
  • RTThe Classroom of excellence” at ADInstruments aiming to train faculty members and instructors from around the world in neuroscience — [LINK]
  • RIndia Bioscience“: promoting bioscience in India — [LINK]

Scattered gems

Sites which describe specific resources you might find useful.

  • RT- YouTube video “Funding basic science to reovlutionise basic medicine – stand up for science” – [LINK]
  • RT – A YouTube video presenting a 50-cent microscope that folds like origami — [LINK]
  • RT – Turn your smartphone into a microscope with some inexpensive materials — [LINK1] – [LINK2]
  • RT – Manu Prakash on frugal science: every child in the world can have a microscope — [LINK]
  • R – The €100 lab: A 3D-printable open-source platform for fluorescence microscopy, optogenetics, and accurate temperature control — [LINK]
  • RT – PokeMod cards explaining model organisms — [LINK]
  • RT – Handheld fluorescent light with integrated camera — [LINK]
  • RT – A NY Times movie about pioneering 17th century microscopy, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek & bacteria – [LINK]
  • RT – IBM’s “A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie” on YouTube to illustrate the problem of image resolution — [LINK]
  • RT – A TED talk about Animations explaining unseeable biology — [LINK]
  • RT – YouTube video about the inner life of the cell — [LINK]
  • R – “A layman’s introduction to principal component analysis” to illustrate image analysis — [LINK]
  • R – The “BrainLab” strategy for enhancing public engagement — [LINK]
  • RT – An app to teach genetics & evolution — [LINK]
  • RTRosalind Franklin’s DNA diffraction experiment with laser pointer & ball pen — [LINK1] – [LINK2]; spiced up by the Franklin vs. Watson & Crick rap — [LINK3]
  • R – “Brain Box“: A uniquely inclusive, one-off science fair in Manchester with 8 dedicated discovery zones and ~5.4K visitors — [LINK1] [LINK2]
  • R – Portraits of model organisms (yeast, Arabidopsis, C. elegans, Drosophila, mouse) from the “Genetics” book by Hartwell et al. — [LINK]
  • A book by Benny Shilo “Life’s blueprint” explaining concepts of biology — [LINK]
  • RT – Two YouTube films about the history & importance of Drosophila in biomedical research — [LINK]
  • R – A film illustrating chick development — [LINK]
  • RT – A National Geographic time lapse movie of bee development — [LINK]
  • R – A YouTube film about blood stem cell development by the Boston Children’s Hospital — [LINK]
  • R – A high-definition 3D image of the embryonic nervous system uploaded by Marc Tessier Lavigne — [LINK]
  • R – A 3D YouTube video of Volvox inversion during early development — [LINK]
  • RT – Amazing Vimeo videos of the development of frogs and other animals by Nipam Patel — [LINK]
  • R – A blog by A. Martinez Arias about William Harvey and the XVII century roots of using model organisms in research — [LINK]
  • RT – Hama bead patterns of model organisms (chick, fly, frog, mouse, zebrafish) — [LINK]
  • RT – A YouTube film by Branwen Messamah explaining the cytoskeleton — [LINK]
  • RT – A layman’s guide to synapses and synapse development — [LINK]
  • RT – Simple YouTube video about the genetics of food digestion: “What is NGLZY1 deficiency?” — [LINK]
  • RT – YouTube video “Why science is NOT ‘Just a Theory‘” — [LINK]
  • RT – Blog post: “The History of Plant Science” — [LINK]
  • RT – YouTube movie “Why do leaves change colour?” — [LINK]
  • RT – The Wellcome Trusts Big Picture poster “The immune response” — [LINK]
  • RT – Microetchings of the nervous system by Greg A. Dunn — [LINK]
  • R – A history book about the RCUK Research Institute — [LINK]
  • RT – Animation movies about the process of transcription — [LINK1] -[LINK2] – [LINK3]
  • RT – Blog by Violent Metaphors: How to read and understand a scientific paper — [LINK]
  • R – “Deconstructing scientific research” – a powerful top-down approach to teach uni students fundamental understanding and transferable skills — [LINK]
  • RT – Various interesting ways to explain mitosis — [LINK1] -[LINK2] -[LINK3]


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