The University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC-CEIN), based at UCLA, does a great job of reaching broad audiences and fostering collaborations. In order to reach broad audiences outside of academia, the UC-CEIN partners with Cal Poly Pomona and the California Science Center. For the past two years, students and faculty from Cal Poly Pomona traveled to UCLA to learn about nanoscience with UC-CEIN students, research staff, and faculty; this yearly February event also functions as a professional development exchange with Cal Poly faculty. Catherine Nameth, Education Coordinator, is in the formative stages of writing and publishing a paper detailing the process and results of preparing volunteers for public outreach.
Since 2010, the UC-CEIN has also collaborated with the California Science Center staff to prepare NanoDays by holding a professional development exchange (research scientists and museum educators) prior to NanoDays as well as co-hosting a NanoDays event with the museum. These partnerships are a direct result of NISENet regional and network-wide meetings. So for forming collaborations, make sure to come prepared to engage with your regional research institutions: even if they’re not close by, collaborations can still happen!