Prize in Public Interest Communications Research

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is proud to continue its annual frank Prize in Public Interest Communications. This prize celebrates peer reviewed research that informs the growing discipline of public interest communications.

The College awards three prizes for research that either:

  1. contributes to the understanding of the field as a unique discipline
  2. offers insight that can improve the effectiveness of public interest communications practice
  3. details a specific public interest communications campaign, including analysis of the reasons for its success or failure
  4. explores evaluative measures
  5. documents specific ways in which public interest communications differs from similar disciplines
  6. provides insight on how to communicate effectively

The college will award one $10,000 prize and two $1,500 prizes to research that meets one or more of these requirements. For more information about our awards program, check out our 20162015 and 2014 prize winners.

What is Public Interest Communications?

Public interest communications is a growing discipline that uses science-based, strategic communications to drive positive social change on issues like education, better health and climate changeIt draws principally on the disciplines of public relations, advertising, marketing, journalism, sociology, communications, psychology, public health, and political science.

Governments, non-profits, foundations, public relations, advertising agencies and corporations all engage in public interest communications, but also engage in many others forms of communications. Examples of effective public interest communications include campaigns to change behavior such as reducing smoking, increasing seatbelt use, and inserting the concept of the designated driver into American culture, but also include efforts focused on policy change and activism.

While public interest communications has been practiced for decades and has contributed significantly to health and well-being throughout the world, it is only recently recognized as a unique academic discipline and profession.

Qualifying submissions

Only completed research intended for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or research that has already appeared in a peer-reviewed journal may be submitted for this prize. All research submitted should have been completed within the past two years.

Research may come from any discipline, and will be judged by its relevance to using communications to driving social change. Work from previous entrants has come from the disciplines of public relations, sociology, psychology and political science, though future submissions are by no means limited to those disciplines.

Submissions will be judged based on demonstration of the following:

  1. Sophistication, originality and rigor of research methodology.
  2. Relevance of the research findings to the study and practice of public interest communications.
  3. Contribution to the understanding of public interest communications as a unique form of communications.

The following must be submitted to our frank submissions page

  1. A 200-word description of why the research is relevant to effective social change communications.
  2. A 300-word abstract.
  3. A pdf copy of the full-length paper. There are no length requirements for the paper.

We will post the 200-word description with the authors’ names to the frank website. We will edit these descriptions for clarity and consistency with frank.jou.ufl.edu style guidelines.

Finalists will participate in a training and coaching session to help them prepare their content and their visuals for their presentations during frank gathering.

More Information

Finalists are expected to present their work during the frank gathering, a conference for social change communicators at the University of Florida. The conference registration fee will be waived and hotel rooms will be provided. The winners will be expected cover their own airfare and other expenses through their award funds. As previously mentioned,winners will be required to attend a free workshop on communicating research. This workshop will include a one-on-one session with a pro to prepare for individual frank talks.

Conference organizers will reach out to the winners to discuss specifications for their presentations and to coordinate travel arrangements.

Questions about the prize should be directed to project coordinator Annie Neimand picresearchprize@jou.ufl.edu.

The Prize Review Board

  • Ann Christiano
  • Dr. Lauren Griffin
  • Dr. Linda Hon
  • Dr. Spiro Kiousis
  • Linda Loranger
  • Annie Neimand
  • Bruce Trachtenberg
  • David Wescott