Research Communications Fellows

Every year, the Office of the Vice President for Research will choose 15-35 faculty members from the University of Virginia faculty as Research Communications Fellows. Through the program, Research Communications Fellows will learn how to present their research clearly and concisely through presentations, a website, articles and on-air interviews, and learn about the available resources for faculty at UVA.

The period of the fellowship will be one year (July 1-June 30). During that year, the fellows can use some or all of these services:

  • Science communication training through a program like Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science
  • Assistance with their slides and presentations to better communicate their research
  • Opportunity for public speaking coaching
  • Mentorship by the Research Development Team, assistance with their CV, and given personalized help to find funding opportunities
  • High quality portraits taken by UVA photographers for articles/applications
  • Assistance creating a functional and attractive website (WordPress or otherwise)
  • Social media and media training
  • Assistance to write an article for The Conversation and/or press release for media
  • Learn the paths to promote research stories in the news 
  • Fellows will receive individual attention by the VPR: one-on-one meetings with research development team, as well as meetings with communications members from VPR and their school to help learn how to promote their research
Media training image
Media training
Drew Precious

Time Commitment: Time will vary, but should be roughly 2-6 hours a month, depending on their needs and interest

Required Events:

Reception for incoming fellows: September 12, 2023

1/2 day training with Alan Alda Center for Communicating ScienceOctober 3 or 10, 2023

1/2 day media training: January 9 or 10, 2024

Find a full calendar of 2023-2024 events and a syllabus here.

Certification: To receive certification and to successfully complete the program, Research Communications Fellows must complete three out of five of the following tasks

  • Participate in in-person communication and media training
  • Finish a slide deck for a research presentation
  • Amplify their social media and web presence
  • Engage with department or school communicator to pitch a story idea
  • Get interviewed on-camera by media outlet or another approved event

Eligibility: Fellows must be full-time faculty at the University of Virginia.

Nominate: Faculty may nominate themselves or others by emailing Meredith Cole ( a name and email address, or they can reach out to the Associate Research Dean of their school. The cohort will chosen by a VPR committee and will begin in the fall of 2023.

Deadline: May 2024.

Questions? Contact Meredith Cole at

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

Media Training

In an intensive ½ day class, faculty will learn how to incorporate storytelling into their presentations, and how to put their best foot forward in an interview situation. After on-camera interview practice, they will receive constructive feedback from a trainer and get tips on how to improve.

A short video about their research will be created from their interview and can be used to help showcase their research on their website or on social media.

Website development

A website is an essential tool for a researcher, helping them to find collaborators, graduate students, and funding. Faculty can receive assistance with setting up a research website at UVA and/or get helpful suggestions on how to improve their current site.

Fellows will also have the opportunity to have a new headshot taken.

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science Training

In this ½ day on-line session, faculty will learn how to speak about their research more clearly and effectively. The trainers will help them learn what is the right amount of information to share, how to better understand their audience, and how the length of a presentation can affect the impact.

Pitching to the media

Faculty will learn about writing for The Conversation and will have an opportunity to pitch a story idea to their editors.

They will also get help with any media interviews or opportunities that come their way during the year.

Public Speaking Coaching

Faculty will have the opportunity to be evaluated by a public speaking coach who can help identify any bad habits. Fellows that wish to continue using the coach for a specific presentation, or to just improve their skills can then use their UVA benefits to continue working with them throughout the year.

More information here.

Research Images & Presentation

Faculty can receive help creating or improving research images. Feedback and suggestions on improving PPTs or other presentation materials.

Social Media Training

Faculty will learn about various forms of social media, how to use them for promoting their research, students, and labs.