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NSF, EIC Team Up To Inspire Viewers About Science, Engineering And Technology

March 2, 2011

Effort offers experts and technology to writers, producers, directors, performers and creative executives

In honor of National Engineers Week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) have announced a new partnership to promote careers in science, engineering and technology. The partnership enhances EIC’s ongoing Ready on the S.E.T. and … Action! program in collaboration with The Boeing Company by providing the entertainment industry’s creative community with additional expertise in science and technology under EIC’s First Draft brand.

In addition to offering experts in all areas of science to writers, producers, directors, performers and creative executives, the First Draft effort, working with NSF’s Science Scene program, will supply story suggestions and ways to depict science themes to creators.

First Draft also will conduct science topic briefings for the entertainment industry. The first such briefing will take place in July, at the start of the television writing season. The half-day event, described as a sort-of “writer’s boot camp,” will provide access to scientists and engineers in a variety of cutting-edge fields that may be useful to story development. The scientists and engineers also will be available to offer technical guidance.

Topics are expected to include areas such as nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence, bioengineering–including artificial limbs and implants, forensics–including DNA analysis and miniaturized lab techniques, as well as artificial life and genetic engineering. Exciting tie-ins to aerospace engineering and other occupations are expected as well.

The partnership with NSF is part of a larger EIC initiative to promote careers that recognize creative productions and journalism dealing with science through the S.E.T. Awards, a newly launched initiative that is now undergoing judging. Science Scene is run by NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.

“If we don’t steer young people toward how exciting and rewarding careers in these fields can be,” said EIC President and CEO Brian Dyak, “we will lose a generation of great minds and thinkers, causing jobs in these fields to go elsewhere and making our country less competitive in the global economy.”

“The president has made it clear we must leave no stone unturned in our efforts to reach and inspire the next generation of innovators if the nation is to keep its leadership in the global technology economy,” said Leslie Fink, a senior public affairs specialist at NSF who heads the Science Scene program. “This partnership represents the kind of creative teamwork necessary to engage mass-media audiences in this critical challenge.”

“Hey, the NFL, the NBA, the LPGA and the rest are great, but there’s another set of initials that stands for the future! I’m talkin’ about the far-out NSF, the National Science Foundation,” said EIC Trustee and comic book legend Stan Lee, who has created quite a few scientist and engineer characters during his career. “Just think–without science there’d be no cell phones, no video games, no 3-D, no engineering, no robotics! Nothing’s cooler than science! So young people better get with it or get outta the way so they don’t get crushed by the next big thing to come down the pike!”

“By partnering with entertainment media, we can positively influence the perception of technical careers and inspire a new generation of innovators,” said Rick Stephens, senior vice president of Human Resources and Administration for Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace company. “This partnership complements our efforts to improve education at all levels particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math which are critical for tomorrow’s jobs and future competitiveness.”

Pauley Perrette, star of CBS’s hit show NCIS signed on with EIC for a public service campaign, encouraging young people to consider careers in engineering. A series of video vignettes starring Perrette, who plays forensic scientist and tech guru Abby Sciuto on NCIS, will each put forth a challenge to one of four target audiences–parents, engineers, students or media.

The campaign will be conducted primarily online through both targeted and viral distribution, taking advantage of the popularity of both the actress and the TV series.

“It has been such an honor to portray the character of Abby on NCIS for more than 7 years,” said Perrette. “This fictional character has become an inspiration to young girls all over the world that careers in math, science, engineering and technology are acceptable, attainable and available to them.”

CBS is participating in the campaign by placing a longer vignette addressing all four of the target groups on the NCIS website. “While the character of Abby on NCIS has been a great role model for young people interested in pursuing a career in science, Pauley herself is an inspiration to everyone with her commitment and determination to this cause,” said NCIS Executive Producer Shane Brennan.

EIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 by leaders of the entertainment industry to bring the power of the industry to bear on health and social issues. The organization is considered to be the chief pioneer of entertainment advocacy outreach and one of the premiere success stories in the field of entertainment education and information resources for entertainment creators. EIC has developed innovative and time-proven services and methods of “encouraging the art of making a difference” from within the entertainment industry.

EIC addresses numerous health issues including mental illness and substance abuse, for which they host the PRISM Awards, which honors those media performances which accurately portray these issues. The SET Awards will similarly honor those programs which accurately portray science, engineering and technology free from traditional stereotypes.

Image Caption: A new partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. makes NSF-sponsored researchers available to the entertainment industry. The researchers will help writers, producers, directors, performers and creative executives tell stories that elements of science, engineering and technology. Credit: © 2011 Jupiter Images Corporation

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