Fostering Excellence in Science Communication

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Photo credit: Frank Mullin

Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting is a global leader in providing science training for journalists.  The Institute is part of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, a premier oceanographic research institution located on the URI’s 200-acre Narragansett Bay Campus. On the bay’s West Passage with a deep-water pier and easy access to the open Atlantic, the campus offers an ideal location from which to explore coastal and oceanic environments.

Metcalf Institute’s Mission
The mission of Metcalf Institute is to expand accurate environmental news coverage through innovative training and resources for journalists, researchers, and other science communicators to build a deeper public understanding of science and the environment.

Student speaking at SciComm copy

Metcalf provides a variety of professional development opportunities  for journalists learn about science and the research process, and to build investigative journalism skills that can be applied to coverage of environmental issues and a wide range of other topics. Metcalf also provides training for scientists to help them improve their abilities and confidence in communicating the broader implications of their research to the media and the public.

Metcalf programs and resources are underwritten by public and private foundations and corporations, individual donations, and a modest endowment managed by the URI Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) corporation. Metcalf Institute’s funding policies are available on request.


Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl

Science Training for Journalists
Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists  
A one-week immersion workshop that provides 10 journalists with basic scientific training in the field and laboratory. Workshop participants learn about global change in coastal ecosystems.

Science Seminars for Journalists  These one- to two-day seminars for journalists focus on specific topics such as coastal effects of climate change, water quality, renewable energy, and toxics in the environment, and feature leading environmental scientists and communicators.

Communication Training for Scientists
Science Communication Workshops for Scientists 
Metcalf Institute organizes these one-day workshops at conferences or as stand-alone programs to help researchers improve their skills and confidence in communicating research to journalists and the public.

SciComm Exchanges Held in partnership with research institutions throughout Rhode Island, SciComm Exchanges provide opportunities for scientists to strengthen their communication skills through informal, lunchtime conversations about science communication topics with fellow researchers and experts in the field.

Public Lectures on Environmental Topics in the News
Scientists and Journalists: Getting the Point Across  An annual public lecture series featuring top scientists, journalists and policy makers on environmental issues of the day.

Metcalf Institute is administered by Dr. Sunshine Menezes, executive director, with advisory assistance from Dr. Rebecca Robinson, professor of oceanography at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and Richard Salit, reporter for The Providence Journal, as well as a small professional staff. Metcalf Institute also has an Advisory Board that meets in full with the directors and staff three times a year. The dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Dr. Bruce Corliss, is an ex officio member of the Metcalf Institute Advisory Board.

The Michael P. Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting was established at the University of Rhode Island in 1997 with endowment funding from The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, the A.H. Belo Corp., and the Philip L. Graham Fund, and additional funding from The Telaka Foundation.

Metcalf Institute was named in honor of Michael P. Metcalf, the late publisher of The Providence Journal, who was keenly interested in marine and environmental issues and was known for his integrity, vision, and high standards for journalism. The Metcalf Institute endowment is managed by the University of Rhode Island Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable corporation.


At the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), researchers address scientific questions of local, national, and international significance, including climate change, hurricanes, air and water pollution, fisheries depletion, and the need for new technologies for undersea research and exploration.

The campus has grown steadily since the founding of the URI Narragansett Marine Laboratory in 1936. Most recently, the Ocean Science & Exploration Center houses the Inner Space Center, which enables researchers and students to monitor, track and disseminate information from oceanographic expeditions in real time via satellite telecommunications.

Map of GSO campus


Metcalf Institute is located in GSO’s Coastal Institute, Room 127.  Directions may be found here.

Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting
University of Rhode Island
Graduate School of Oceanography
218 South Ferry Road
Narragansett, RI 02882
tel 401 874 6499
fax 401 874 6486