Research Prize

Submissions are now open

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is proud to continue its annual $10,000 Research Prize in Public Interest Communications. This prize celebrates peer-reviewed research that informs the growing discipline of public interest communications.
About the prize
The College awards three prizes for research that either:
  1. contributes to the understanding of the field as a unique discipline
  2. offers insight that can improve the effectiveness of public interest communications practice, from how the human mind experiences and prefers information, and forms judgments and beliefs, to what motivates people to take action or change their behavior.
  3. details a specific public interest communications campaign, including analysis of the reasons for its success or failure
  4. explores evaluative measures
  5. provides insight on how to communicate effectively to drive belief and/or behavior change in the public’s interest
The college awards one $10,000 prize and two $1,500 prizes to research that meets one or more of these requirements.

Qualifying submissions

Only research that has already appeared in or has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal may be submitted for this prize. All research submitted should have been completed within the past three years.
Research may come from any discipline and will be judged by its relevance for use in driving social change through communication. Work from previous entrants has come from the disciplines of public relations, sociology, psychology, neuroscience and political science, though future submissions are by no means limited to those disciplines.

Submissions are judged based on demonstration of the following:

A review board made up of both prominent academic scholars and experienced public interest communications practitioners review submissions and vote for the top three papers based on the following criteria:
  1. Sophistication, originality and rigor of research methodology
  2. Relevance of the research findings to the study and practice of public interest communications
  3. Contribution to the understanding of public interest communications as a unique form of communications

The following must be submitted to our submissions page:

  1. A 200-word description of why the research is relevant to effective social change communications.
  2. A 300-word abstract.
  3. A pdf copy of the full-length paper. There are no length requirements for the paper
We will post the descriptions and abstracts with the authors’ names to the Center’s website

Presenting at frank

The top three papers will be presented at frank gathering, Feb. 4-7, 2020. Finalists will participate in a coaching session to help them prepare their content and their visuals for their presentations during frank.
We have designed the prize to be an opportunity for scholars to gain hands-on science communication training from leading communication practitioners in the field. The frank community is made up of 300 funders, nonprofit organizations, activists and scientists. It provides a unique opportunity to build science communications experience and connect with a community eager to learn and apply your work.

Scholars work with a science communications expert to prepare for the following presentations on the frank stage:

  1. A one-minute introduction of your work. This will be similar to an elevator pitch but will be prepared in a way to introduce you and your work to the audience.
  2. A five to seven-minute talk about your paper, how it fits within the body of your work and its relevance to the field. Watch similar talks on the frank stage here.
  3. A seven-minute on-stage interview to discuss how the field can apply or experiment with insights from the research.
This experience is designed to prepare researchers to communicate their work to a non-academic audience and develop a new network of practitioners and academics. Past prize finalists and winners have made strong connections and partnerships with the frank community that have resulted in funded research projects, consulting opportunities and insights for future research.
Finalists will be required to attend the conference. Co-authors are welcome to co-present or split presentation requirements in some cases.

Our past winners include:

2019: Dr. Jeremy Yip, assistant professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a visiting scholar at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

2018: Dr. Chelsea Schein, postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

2017: Dr. Lisa Fazio, principal investigator at the Building Knowledge Lab and assistant professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University

2016: Dr. Troy Campbell, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business

2015: Dr. Sara Bleich, professor of public health policy at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

2014: Dr. Jina Yoo, associate teaching professor of communication at University of Missouri-St. Louis
Note: This is not a traditional academic conference. We are a mix of academics, practitioners and students eager to learn from each other, build relationships and have fun. The conference takes place in the historic Hippodrome Theatre in downtown Gainesville, Florida. Other speakers include strategists, activists, artists, journalists and scholars. You can find out more about the frank gathering here.

More Information

The conference registration fee is waived and hotel rooms are provided to prize finalists.
Conference organizers work with the winners to discuss specifications for their presentations and to coordinate travel arrangements.

Submissions close November 1, 2019 at 5 PM ET

Share your work here
Finalists will be announced before the end of the year.
Questions about the prize should be directed to Kaylee Kaestle.