RISE Rap

Broader Impacts - A Provocative New Look

Carol Lynn Alpert

NSF's Broader Impacts Criterion (BIC) gets a provocative re-examination in a special issue of the British journal Social Epistemology, and in that issue, the NISE Net's focus on science museum - research center partnerships is included as a model for authenticating and reinforcing the intentions of the BIC framers. The issue was edited by J. Britt Holbrook...

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Nanoscale science gets a new periodic table, Nanopants skew public perception - news from the 2009 NSF NSE Meeting

Carol Lynn Alpert

A new systematic framework for unifying and defining nanoscience was put forth at the 2009 NSF NSE grantees meeting last week in Arlington, Virginia.

Donald Tomalia, director of the National Dendrimer and Nanotechnology Center at Central Michigan University, presented the scheme, describing it as comparable to the “first principles initiated by Lavoisier, Dalton, Mendeleev, and others that led to a periodic system and central paradigm for traditional elemental atom and small molecule chemistry.” The...

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Advances in Partnerships and Conjugates: the Fall MRS Meeting

Carol Lynn Alpert

Partnerships between nano and materials research centers and science museums are well and thriving, as evidenced by a round of talks delivered at the Fall 09 MRS Meeting “Materials Education Symposium,” curated by NISE Net friends  Eric Marshall and Julie Nucci in honor of  Stanford’s Marni Goldman.  The panel on partnerships was put together by the NISE Net’s Rae Ostman, and it highlighted seven specific...

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Working with Researchers

Vrylena Olney

Photo from the NISE Net Annual Meeting by Emily Maletz Graphic Design At the NISE Net Annual Meeting last September, we asked participants about their favorite nano educational experiences. Many talked about how exciting it is when researchers connect with the public. Here are a few examples of favorite experiences:

  • A researcher giving an engaging talk to the public about their own research in biomineralization. Great to hear current nano update from someone who is involved/passionate.
  • ...

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Fall Mixers for Prospective Partners

Carol Lynn Alpert

We've already had snow in Boston, and the fall conference season is upon us, with some excellent opportunities for those interested in learning more about researcher - ISE partnership craft. First up on the schedule, the Association of Science-Technology Centers conference, which provides a splendid opportunity to get away to Fort Worth for Halloween (Oct 31 - Nov 3). Not only will the NISE Network be hosting various get-togethers and information-sharing sessions, but other ISE leaders are also tackling the partnership theme - partnering with community organizations, with NIH researchers,...

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Changes Afoot at NIH - More $$$ for Science Education?

Carol Lynn Alpert

The National Institutes of Health maintains a 30 billion dollar portfolio of health and biomedical research, a yearly budget that roundly trumps that of the National Science Foundation (about 7 billion) and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (1.6 billion). Although NIH has no “Broader Impacts” criterion in its RFPs, it does expect researchers to contribute to education and outreach. This is fairly fertile territory for science museums to explore, perhaps through nurturing relationships with local NIH-funded research institutes. Now there's an interesting new development....

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A Vaccine for Last-Minute-Itis

Carol Lynn Alpert

Several times in the past (check the RISE Group Page), I’ve written about the problem of last-minute-itis among NSF grant proposal writers. Symptoms of this illness are well-known to grant administrators at universities as well as at science museums, and, let’s face it, we’ve all succumbed to its indignities at one time or another. FastLane has to become a very WideLane on the deadline day for grant submission. One of the biggest casualties of last-minute-itis has been the “broader impacts” portion of a research center’s grant proposal, and with it, the potential for robust...

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Why fund the NISE Net?

Carol Lynn Alpert

A short time ago, I heard from a veteran program officer in one of the NSF science research directorates that she was skeptical about the strategy of apportioning funds from these directorates to fund the NISE Net. Why not give the funds directly to the individual nano research centers to bolster their own education and outreach (E&O) programs? Why set up a whole new Informal Science Education (ISE) infrastructure to do it? After all, most of the NSF-funded research centers have been doing E&O for years, partially in response to NSF’s “Broader Impacts Criterion,” partly because...

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