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Talking Biotech activities are sponsored by donors, allowing a low-cost, no-cost opportunity to bring science communication training to your college, grade school, or community.  The following are the current modules taught as part of this science communication effort. 

ONE– HOT SCIENCE-  How can we effectively communicate hot-button issues in science such as vaccines, climate, fluoridation or evolution?  How do we change minds away from errant deeply-held beliefs? 

1.  Defining an audience and understanding them

2. Identifying shared values, working from common interests

3.  Motivated sequences- persuading with thoughts from advertisers

4.  Common mistakes and audience psychology 

TWO-  BIOTECH COMMUNICATION-  The second series is “training the trainers”.  Students, postdocs, and faculty will convene for a series of four discussions in agricultural and medicinal biotechnology.  (3.5-4 Hours)

1.  The basis of biotech traits, risks and benefits

2. Evidence-based evaluation of myth and popular storytelling

3. Future Products and Missed Opportunities

4. Effective communication in biotechnology

Practice session and workshop- honing presentation skills


1.  Presentation Structure – signposting, preview/review, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, etc.

2. Mistakes, Psychology and Timing

3.  Non-verbal communication

4.  Key points of science presentations 

5.  Overcoming anxiety


Citrus greening disease, or Huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating and yet incurable disease in citrus trees. HLB threatens continued production in the State of Florida, and it has been detected in Texas and California. This disease has many components, and many potential solutions.  This module is designed for students in grades 2-6, to inspire them to think about scientific solutions to agricultural problems.  

The NO MORE ORANGES module is available in several formats. First, it can be delivered in person, which is great if a number of science classes can be included in a many session, daily set of discussions.  Alternatively, teachers may download the presentation, and follow notes about how to deliver the work effectively. 

The story is compelling and empowering to students, who are taught to develop hypotheses to address the many nodes of this devastating disease.  By making the children the scientists, they are stimulated to creatively address major issues in agriculture.  Contact Kevin Folta kfolta at for more information.


Extension professionals provide a link between university science and the public, especially those in agriculture.  Over the last several years there is an increasing interest in transgenic crops (GMO).   Talking Biotech provides a suite of communications and training tools for extension professionals, including powerpoint slides and demonstration presentations.  The goal is to provide stakeholders an evidence-based understanding of the strengths and limitations of the technology, along with a mechanistic description of current and future technology.  Currently only a small set of resources is available, but more will be available in early 2016. 


We’ll generate short videos (1-2 min) that describe how transgenic (GM) traits work, along with their applications, risks and benefits. (Early 2016).