2021 Research Prize in Public Interest Communications

The Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is proud to continue its annual $10,000 Prize for Research in Public Interest Communications (frank prize). This prize celebrates peer-reviewed research from disciplines that span behavioral, cognitive and social sciences that inform the growing discipline of public interest communications.
Ready to enter your paper? Follow this link.

About the prize

The College awards three prizes for research that provides insights that:

  1. Inform design aspects of social change campaigns to drive belief or behavior change
  2. Builds understanding of narrative as a strategy for change
  3. Can help practitioners overcome pressing communications challenges, i.e. misinformation, polarization, movement building, etc
  4. Support the work of social and environmental movements
  5. Contributes to understanding of the Public Interest Communications as a unique discipline
  6. Offers insight that can improve the effectiveness of 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.
  7. Details a specific public interest communications campaign, including analysis of the reasons for its success or failure
  8. Explores evaluative measures
Social change requires we move beyond raising awareness, and instead design campaigns that shift minds, move hearts and inspire action. As a community we believe change happens by targeting systems and working pragmatically and strategically. The frank prize celebrates scholarship that can contribute to this vision.
The Center seeks published papers from emerging and prominent scholars, whose ideas can be put to work to build an antiracist, inclusive, equitable, just and sustainable future. We encourage entries by scholars studying aspects of how change happens (and what stops it from happening) that can be powerful when applied by practitioners on the frontlines of today’s movements. frank is an inclusive community of scholars, activists, storytellers, funders, communicators and students dedicated to using academic insight to drive social change.

Qualifying entries

The Center awards one $10,000 prize and two $1,500 prizes to research that meets one or more of these requirements. Check out a few of our past prize winners: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014
Only research that has already appeared in or has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal in the last three years may be entered for this prize. All research entered 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 diverse disciplines, including public health, communication, sociology, social psychology, neuroscience and political science, though future entires are by no means limited to those disciplines.

Entries are judged based on demonstration of the following:

A review board made up of academic scholars and public interest communications practitioners will review entries 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 included in your entry:

  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 to the frank community, Feb. 9-12, 2021 (subject to change). 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 audience, made up of 300 funders, nonprofit organizations, activists and scientists, provides a unique opportunity to build science communication experience and connect with a community eager to learn and apply your work.
Finalists will be required to attend the conference. Co-authors may present in place of lead authors.

Scholars prepare for the following presentation:

  1. A five to seven-minute talk about their paper, how it fits within the body of their work and its relevance to the field. Similar to a Ted Talk, you can see similar talks on the frank stage here.

Our past winners include:

2020: Dr. Jon Rozenbeek, Department of Slavonic Studies and Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge
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

More Information

The conference registration fee is waived for prize finalists.
Conference organizers work with the winners to discuss specifications for their presentations.
Papers will be accepted until December 1, 2020 at 5 PM ET
Enter here
Finalists will be announced before the end of the year.
Questions about the prize should be directed to Brendan Martin, Communications Coordinator, Center for Public Interest Communications