Science is central to many of today’s most critical conversations. The Impact Exchange is about making sure scientists (and future scientists) are part of the conversation. Through a unique integrated approach we create an engagement ecosystem that encompasses science communication training, public outreach and broader impacts.

Our Approach

Everyone’s life is touched by the biological sciences. Whether it’s understanding diseases and their treatments or developing new ways to grow our food while protecting our environment, advances in science push our society forward. That is why the College of Biological Sciences believes that engaging our community through consistent and coordinated programs is fundamental to our work. Earlier this year, the College launched the Impact Exchange to provide centralized support and vision for the College’s outreach programs and foster a more holistic approach to community engagement. By bringing together a community of experts from the sciences, communications, and design, the Impact Exchange will support the CBS community in connecting our work to the needs of the broader community.

Signature Programs

  • Science Communication Lab is an incubator for developing and testing new models for engagement and establishing novel partnerships with local schools, community groups, and cultural institutions. Lab members collaborate with faculty to develop and implement novel broader impact strategies. It is an interdisciplinary internship program for writers, scientists, artists, and designers interested in science communication.
  • Market Science is a team of scientists from the University of Minnesota, and around the Twin Cities, sharing science through hands-on learning activities for kids, delving into scientific questions for market goers, and starting conversations between researchers and their communities.
  • InSciEd Out provides student-driven STEM experiences to underrepresented and low socioeconomic status students across the greater Twin Cities area.

Signature Events

  • The Petri Dish is a cross-disciplinary discussion on socially relevant biology-themed topics ranging from gene editing and its implications to biodiversity loss. The events, held at accessible, off-campus venues, typically attract 80+ attendees including community members, alumni and students.
  • SciSpark is an annual event celebrating diversity in science by highlighting contributions from communities traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. It provides a public forum for having conversations about how to best support equity and inclusion in science and work towards a future where all people have opportunities to engage in science that sparks their passion for learning. Over the past five years, 1,000+ people attended this event.
  • Science Is a Visual Medium is a public lecture series that allows members of the research and creative community to gather and reflect on the intersections among science, art, technology and design. Presented in conjunction with the Bell, Weisman, and Bakken museums, Science is a Visual Medium explores the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration and creative inquiry.

Community Programming

  • Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCCESR) is a large ecological research site in central Minnesota with natural habitats that represent the entire state. The education arm of Cedar Creek strives to be an inspiring catalyst and outstanding resource for lifelong science education in Minnesota by building a pathway of science literacy and learning through engaging hands-on experiences at a world-renowned field station.
  • The College of Biological Sciences Conservatory is a biodiverse collection of plant species from around the world. We service the needs of classes, researchers, and the surrounding community through making both our plants and expertise available. The collection is the most diverse in the upper Midwestern United States, containing over 1,600 species of plants. The material from this diverse living collection is leveraged for the maximum benefit for our students, scientists, and the public at large.
  • The Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories (IBSL) sits at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, the convergence point of three major biomes, coniferous forest, eastern deciduous forest, and tallgrass prairie. As a destination that attracts nearly half a million visitors per year and connects communities with deep ties to the region, IBSL is a cornerstone for the College of Biological Sciences public presence in Northern Minnesota.
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement Current as of