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Nation’s Biggest Science Communications Conference Back on at CU

This year's event is co-sponsored by the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and CU Boulder.

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Written by Julia Milzer on April 14, 2021
What You Need To Know

ScienceWriters2021 will be hosted at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and CU Boulder this fall. The event is the largest conference for science journalists and will bring at least 300 in-person attendees to the campuses. 

After being postponed in 2020 amid COVID-19, ScienceWriters2021 is on track for Oct. 8–11, 2021, at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The annual conference is the nation’s premier science communications gathering and is organized by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) in coordination with a different research institution each year. This year, the event is co-sponsored by CU Boulder and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

The 2021 conference is expected to attract at least 300 in-person attendees and as many as 2,000 virtual attendees for several days of meetings, workshops, talks and tours.

“Our organizations are thrilled to be able to offer engaging and safe hybrid experiences for a diverse group of science journalists and communicators,” said Rosalind Reid, CASW executive director. “The pandemic has been a startling reminder of the vital importance of sound science and the need to clearly communicate research to the public.”

Throughout the week, attendees will participate in: 

  • Panels and sessions featuring top scientists from around the world––including the CU system.
  • Interactive lab tours and field trips.
  • Lunch with a Scientist sessions allowing a more casual learning experience.
  • Professional development sessions.

The event serves as the annual meeting for NASW and includes CASW’s New Horizons in Science program in which top-ranked researchers from around the globe report on seminal advances in a wide array of scientific disciplines. CASW’s New Horizons briefing was presented in Boulder once before, in 1988.

Like all events on campus, ScienceWriters2021 will be in full compliance with county and state public health guidelines and the COVID-19 dial framework. 

“We are excited to be able to showcase the incredible research taking place on our campuses and highlight the innovative work we are doing to positively impact humanity around the world,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano.

While the conference headquarters will be at CU Boulder, shuttles will transport in-person participants to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, which is the largest health sciences center in the Rocky Mountain region.

“ScienceWriters 2021 offers a tremendous opportunity to highlight top talent in diverse fields of health and medicine and to share some of the innovative work taking place on our campus. We are looking forward to co-hosting this highly anticipated event and connecting our scientists, researchers and faculty members with journalists who take vital discoveries in science to the forefront of public conversations,” said Donald Elliman Jr., chancellor of CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Faculty at the four-campus CU system attracted $1.4 billion in sponsored research funding and gifts during the 2020 fiscal year, mostly from CU Boulder and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

CU has research partnerships with such organizations as Ball Aerospace, Battelle, Chevron, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, NREL, Wyle Laboratories and many others.

The CU Anschutz Medical Campus encompasses six health professional schools, more than 60 centers and institutes, and two nationally ranked independent hospitals that treat more than two million patients each year. The campus offers a dynamic innovation ecosystem and is a recognized leader in transformative biomedical research and development, contributing to the CU system’s ranking among the top 20 universities in the world for U.S. patents.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, CU Anschutz Medical Campus’s presence on the national stage has been further elevated as faculty leaders in science and medicine were called upon for expertise and guidance amid this historic health challenge. The CU Anschutz Medical Campus has rapidly advanced innovation and sped research to help combat COVID-19––in infectious diseases, public health, emergency medicine and other disciplines––while also bolstering resources including robust mental health services that are making an impact across the state. The campus took part in more than 40 COVID-19 clinical trials and studies including the first large-scale clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

CU Boulder is nationally recognized as one of only 36 Association of American Universities public research universities. Established in 1876, CU Boulder is a tier 1 public research university with five Nobel laureates and nine MacArthur “genius” fellows. It is the No. 1 public university recipient of NASA awards.

CU Boulder is a leader in many fields, including aerospace engineering, physics and environmental law. The school partners with many notable federal research labs, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“This hybrid experience will provide unique opportunities to deepen relationships with science communicators from around the country,” said CU Boulder Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez. “Along with our colleagues at CU Anschutz, we are delighted to spotlight our world-class researchers, their discoveries and the collective impact of our entire research community.”

Stay tuned to ScienceWriters2021.org for details and updates. In social media, watch the #sciwri21 hashtag.