Scientific Writing Retreat
November 16 - 20, 2016
Application Deadline: September 9, 2016

Charla Lambert, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Stephen Matheson, Cell Press

See the Roll of Honor - who's taken the course in the past

Are you currently working on a scientific writing project such as a manuscript, grant proposal, job application, or research/teaching statement? Do you find that it's difficult to carve out dedicated writing time, or do you often feel as if you need to "get away" to make significant progress? Are you interested in learning how to improve the clarity and effectiveness of your professional writing? If so, consider applying to the CSHL Scientific Writing Retreat!

The goal of this retreat is to have participants progress significantly on writing projects while improving their professional communication skills. The retreat will include a mix formal sessions and less structured writing time. The formal sessions will cover:

  • Publication writing for scientific journals from the perspectives of Cell Press and Cold Spring Harbor Press;
  • Grant writing from the perspective of the National Institutes of Health;
  • Writing clearly and conversationally about your research in ways that engage diverse audiences, a skill particularly useful when developing lay summaries for NIH and NSF proposals; and,
  • Style tips and considerations for clear professional writing in all forms.

The less structured sessions of the retreat will include small writing groups and dedicated individual writing time. For the small group sessions, participants will be preassigned to groups of 3-5 people for the purpose of soliciting peer feedback on their writing. For the individual writing sessions, coaches will be on hand to work with participants one-on-one. If you are accepted into the retreat, you will need to submit a piece of writing ahead of time for the small group work. As with all CSHL meetings and courses, participants will be required to respect the confidentiality of any unpublished research they may read during the retreat.

Two of the formal sessions will be led by instructors from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. The Alda Center is dedicated to helping scientists communicate their research effectively to people outside their fields, including the general public, policy makers, the media, students, potential employers or funders, and prospective collaborators in other disciplines. Through discussion and practice, the Center's workshops focus on fundamental skills such as knowing your audience, connecting with it, communicating your research clearly, and explaining why it matters. The Center is a leader in efforts to improve science communication nationally and has led workshops for scientists at more than 130 institutions.

Target audience: The CSHL Scientific Writing Retreat is designed for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in all areas of biology who are actively working on professional pieces of writing such as manuscripts, grant proposals, job applications, or research/teaching/personal statements. Applications from staff scientists and more senior independent investigators are also welcome. English proficiency will be assumed; this retreat is not appropriate for scientists who are in the initial stages of learning to read, write, or speak English.

Application instructions: To apply, you will need to submit a curriculum vitae and personal statement along with one letter of reference. Your statement should describe your current research and position, the writing project you plan to bring with you to the retreat, and what you hope to gain by participating in the retreat. You will be expected to stay at CSHL for the duration of the retreat, which will begin the evening of Wednesday, November 16, and end by lunchtime on Sunday, November 20. The retreat will take place at the CSHL Banbury Conference Center on the north shore of Long Island.

Cost: $875

This tuition rate is all-inclusive and includes housing and food. Additional financial aid is available; to indicate financial need, please submit a short stipend request as part of your application materials. Support for this retreat is generously provided by the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Click the links above to begin the application process. Optionally, you can click the following button to indicate your interest in the retreat if you are not ready to apply at this time. No fees are due until you have completed the full application process and are accepted into the course.