$5 Million Grant Will Help Researchers Magnify the Societal Impact of Scientific Advances

This week’s post was first published on October 17, 2018 in the University of Missouri’s News Bureau and is reposted here with permission.

The ARIS Center will help scientists communicate the impact of their research

Story Contact(s):
Eric Stann, stanne@missouri.edu, 573-882-3346

COLUMBIA, Mo. – When Humira came on the market, many found relief from symptoms of arthritis, plaque psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. However, most people may not know the scientific breakthrough for the foundation of Humira took most of a Nobel laureate’s 40-year career at the University of Missouri to develop. Every day, scientific breakthroughs such as this improve the lives of millions, but many do not get shared. Mizzou’s new multimillion dollar grant aims to help scientists shine a light on their research.

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Missouri a $5.2 million grant over five years to establish the Advancing Research and its Impact on Society (ARIS) Center at Mizzou. It will advance the practice of translating scientific research to the public through educational outreach and community engagement. The center also gets the university one step closer to the goal of attracting three to five externally funded national research centers in the next five years which MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright proposed in February.

“We are honored to be the home of this national initiative,” said Susan Renoe, assistant vice chancellor for research, extension and engagement, and the project’s lead. “Federally funded research improves education for our children, increases crop yields, leads to advancements in medicine and creates jobs for Missourians. This center will enhance our efforts in outreach and engagement with the citizens of the state, the U.S. and the world, making Mizzou a national leader in how science is communicated.”

The center will work with scientists to demonstrate the impact of their research in their communities and society. It will emphasize support for serving traditionally underserved populations while providing inclusive public engagement to ensure a diverse science workforce.

“It’s important for the public to know how research is affecting and changing lives,” Cartwright said. “Mizzou’s research culture has allowed scientists, like our own Nobel laureate George P. Smith, to realize their potential and reach out to the world to communicate their science. Traditionally, researchers have struggled with how to effectively communicate their work to the public. As a scientist and engineer myself, I’ve learned one of the best ways you can communicate the impact of science is through stories. I’m thrilled that the University of Missouri will lead the way in teaching researchers these important skills.”

Foundational partners for the center include Brown University, Duke University, Iowa State University, Madison Area Technical College, Michigan State University, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Oregon State University, Rutgers University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The board of advisors for the new ARIS Center include members from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Universities, California State University-Monterey Bay, the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the Kavli Foundation, NASA, Northern Illinois University, the Rathenau Institute in the Netherlands, Spelman College, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Western Washington University and York University in Canada, among others.

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