Newswise — When scientists engage with their community, both sides benefit from improved understanding. That’s the philosophy behind a new grant program from the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The program is supported by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Members of the scientific society may now apply for ASCB’s Public Engagement Grants. Grantees will receive from $10,000 to $35,000 for bold ideas that engage local communities with the process of science and increase public scientific literacy. The application deadline is March 31.

“In today’s world it is essential to be able to understand and make informed decisions about scientific and medical issues,” said ASCB’s CEO Erika Shugart. “That’s why we are making these ASCB Public Engagement Grants available to our members who have creative ideas about how to engage their audiences in experiences that increase appreciation and knowledge about science. Through this funding and mentoring support, ASCB hopes to ensure that scientists have the opportunity to make a difference in their community. ”

The grant can provide a boost for scientists looking for a way to transition into a career in scientific outreach or those seeking to expand upon what they already do. The program supports awardees with mentoring, evaluation, and feedback so that they can become eligible to apply for additional funding elsewhere.

“As a scientific society, ASCB has experience in providing networking and professional development opportunities for our members,” Shugart added. “We will use this experience to build a program that will help the grantees by providing assessment, mentoring, networking, and professional development.”

Applicants must be or must become a member of ASCB. Preference will be given to graduate students and postdocs, however, any member may apply.  A full description of the program and detailed information about how to apply can be found at