University of Iowa researchers and scholars invest years of education and investigation in the lab and out in the field to become experts within their disciplines.


But the ability to “walk the walk” doesn’t always translate into an ability to “talk the talk” when it comes to sharing that expertise and knowledge with non-experts. That’s why the University of Iowa Office of Research and Economic Development created its Communicating Ideas workshop: to give faculty the communication tools and confidence they need to help the public understand their research and scholarship and why their work matters to the world.


Last month, the fifth Communicating Ideas workshop cohort of nine faculty members completed its full-day training session, the most immediate result of which was a short video of the participants explaining who they are, what they research, and why it matters.  The videos are available at


“Knowledge, no matter how deep it is, isn’t terribly useful if the public doesn’t understand the questions being asked, the motivation for asking them, and the fruits of that inquiry,” said Dan Reed, Vice President for Research and Economic Development. “That’s especially true for a large public research university like Iowa, and in a moment in history when the foundational value of research and scholarship is being questioned.”


Communicating Ideas is a joint effort of the Office of Research and Economic Development, the Office of Strategic Communication, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover