Each summer, the Communication Lab hosts the Summer Institute, a four-day workshop open to staff and students from any institution who aim to launch science communication training initiatives. Workshop participants learn how to adapt the Communication Lab model and create innovative communication resources for their own STEM communities.

The 2021 Virtual Summer Institute took place from Monday, July 12 to Thursday, July 15, hosted via Zoom.

The next Summer Institute will take place in Summer 2023.

Learn more about the Summer Institute below:


The Summer Institute is a hands-on strategic-planning workshop for staff, students, and postdocs who are excited to improve science communication.

Despite deep customization, the Communication Labs share a framework of these 4 interrelated concepts that guide our strategy and operations: 1) educational philosophy, 2) sociology + anthropology, 3) customer service + management, and 4) business + innovation.

Each day, we will break down one of the four concepts and support you in drafting a strategic plan.

What to expect from the virtual Summer Institute

  • Hosted via Zoom
  • 4-5 hours of live programming per day
  • Live programming will focus on interactive components: discussion, feedback, hands-on activities, and panels.
  • Attendees will receive 1-2 hours’ of pre-reading for each day, so that they can arrive prepared to focus on discussion and application of principles and strategies.

Registration rates, including a 25% virtual event discount compared to regular rates:

  • Faculty, staff, administrators: $2,250 for four-day workshop
  • Students and postdocs: $1,125 for four-day workshop
  • For any questions about registration (such as accommodations for attendance of fewer than four days), please contact program director Diana Chien.


Click to download the 2019 Summer Institute Agenda as a PDF

2021 Registrants will receive an agenda updated to reflect virtual programming.


Past Summer Institutes have been attended by representatives from institutions including Boston University, Brandeis University, Caltech, Cornell University, and Northeastern University. Attendees have used the experience to help launch initiatives including a graduate science communication course, a director of science communication position, and their own Communication Labs.

Read about their experiences below:

“The Summer Institute was full of useful, practical advice and examples for starting a Communication Lab. It was very helpful while also providing a supportive atmosphere in which we could ask questions and consider institution-specific solutions. The week was fun and I left with the tools to start building a Comm Lab elsewhere.”

Summer Institute 2017

“The Summer Institute was incredibly informative – it was also the perfect combination of content, introspection, and discussion-based forums.”

“I thought it was easily the best workshop as far as structure and engagement I have been to. […] It was extremely educational […] and really addressed the range of experiences and communities of the participants.”


Click here to learn about the network of Comm Labs established by past Summer Institute attendees.