2017-2018 U.S. Policy Communication Training Program

The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is now accepting applications for its 2017-2018 U.S. Policy Communication Training Program. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – National Institute of Health (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). It is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents pursuing doctoral programs at reputable U.S. academic institutions and who are between their 3rd and 5th year of studies. PRB gives priority to applicants who are current or previous trainees of NICHD-supported population centers in the United States.

Applicants may be in any field of study, but their research focus must be related to demography, reproductive health, or population health. Demographic topics include population dynamics, distribution, growth, and decline; migration; fertility, nuptiality, and family demography; mortality and morbidity; or the causes and consequences of demographic change. Reproductive health studies of interest are limited to behavioral and social science research. Population health areas include human health, productivity, and development at the population level. The populations of concern may be U.S. or non-U.S. populations.

Through the U.S. Policy Communication Training Program, participants will:

  • Understand the process by which research informs the policy environment.
  • Learn various ways to communicate findings to U.S. policy audiences.
  • Improve their ability to communicate in written and verbal formats.

The U.S. Policy Communication Training Program builds on PRB’s 40-year legacy of training researchers to bridge the gap between research findings and the policy development process. While research often has profound policy implications, it must be communicated effectively to a variety of non-technical audiences in order to have an impact. The U.S. Policy Communication Training Program prepares researchers to influence policymaking through effective communication. To that end, the core training sessions cover:

  • The research to policy gap
  • Communication strategies to link research to policy
  • Writing for policy and nontechnical audiences
  • Effective content for and delivery of presentations


Program Information

The program has two components:

Washington Workshop: Participants will attend a week-long workshop at PRB in Washington, D.C., scheduled for June 19-June 24, 2017. This workshop focuses on the role of research in the U.S. policy process, and on techniques for effective communication of research findings to U.S. decisionmakers, media, and nontechnical audiences.

During the workshop, participants interact with PRB staff and outside experts active in policy research and communications. The workshop begins with discussions and exercises aimed at understanding the gap between research and policy, why it exists, and how it can be overcome. The bulk of the training consists of interactive workshops and exercises where participants learn the skills necessary to communicate research to policy audiences. During the workshop, participants are asked to work with their own research results to identify the policy relevance of their findings. Participants learn how to draw implications from those findings and how to communicate them effectively to U.S. policy audiences. At the end of the workshop, participants will give a brief policy presentation integrating lessons learned throughout the week.

The organizers will pay participant expenses including: travel to and from Washington, D.C.; hotel; food; and related expenses during the week-long, in-person training period.

Practicum: During the 2017-2018 academic year, participants will apply the lessons learned at the Washington workshop to prepare two policy communication materials (e.g. policy briefs, blogs, or op-eds) based on their dissertations or related research topics. During the year, participants will receive feedback from PRB staff on their work. Upon completion of the two policy communication assignments, participants become eligible to apply for a travel stipend to present at a policy-oriented meeting or conference.


Who Should Apply

All participants must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) currently enrolled in doctoral programs at reputable U.S. academic institutions, and between their 3rd and 5th year of studies at the time of application, and affiliated with a population center (www.popcenters.org). PRB gives priority to applicants whose research is focused on the topic areas noted above, who are in an early stage of their research career, and who are current or previous trainees of NICHD-supported population centers in the United States.


Application Information

The deadline for applying is 11:59 PM ET on January 27, 2017.

The training program awards will be announced in April 2017.

Applicants must submit the following to PRB:

  • A completed application form.
  • A recent resume with a full list of educational and other professional activities.
  • Two letters of reference sent directly from the person writing the reference.  Letters of reference must be emailed directly to USPolicyTraining2015@prb.org.


To apply, click “Make Submission” below. If you have questions or need assistance completing the application, please contact Hanna Christianson at USPolicyTraining2015@prb.org.