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Woods Hole Speakers Bureau

Read the FAQs and then follow two simple steps.


First, browse the speakers and select your top 3 choices for your request. Then, fill out the Request a Speaker form below and we will get back to you with your match as soon as possible. 


If you are interested in being listed as a speaker please fill out the form below.  

Browse topics by theme, title, institution, and other variables by clicking the button. A pdf listing all topics will be available in March.

Sign-ups for the 2022 season will open on February 1st. Your information will be public until Nov 1st when the season ends. Renewal for the next year is not automatic.

Requests for speakers will be live the first week of March. Last requests must have an event date no later than Oct 31st.

What is the Speakers Bureau?

Woods Hole is a major hub of science institutions that hosts some of the most cutting edge research in the country from studies on horseshoe crabs, hurricanes, exploring deep hydrothermal vents, big data, and more. Those employed by the private, government, and non-profit organizations in the Woods Hole area are a big part of the local community. They go to the same coffee shops you do, same church, schools, and each individual has a story only they can tell, be it about their research, passion, or lifestyle.  Currently there are no other consolidated places to request speakers on the Cape – anyone can email a specific speaker with a requested topic but that can be intimidating and inefficient, and it misses others who are willing to talk but may not have a way to broadcast that. If you have no idea where to start or topic to choose the speakers bureau makes it as easy as browsing the available talks.

There are multiple mutual benefits. Graduate students are given a chance to practice speaking to groups outside their peers, investigators can promote new science, local businesses can host scientists at events, and schools can benefit from a variety of STEM and other subjects.

This is a FREE service! Our volunteers want to share, you want to listen, and the speakers bureau is here to help you connect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you email us, please make sure that the answer isn’t already below!

Questions, concerns, please email 

We will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


General Rules

1. Each engagement may last up to 1.5 hours and no less than 0.5 hours (unless format such as radio, dictates otherwise).


2. Speakers must be given a chance to respond at least 14 business days before the event and no further in the future than 45 business days.


3. Requesters will list their top 3 choices. The Bureau will communicate with the speakers and match you with the first available. Please do not request a new speaker until your previous request has been confirmed.


4. Unresponsiveness, no-shows, and inappropriate behavior will be handled on an individual basis. Please be considerate.


5. Speakers must follow guidelines set by their own institutions on the topics that relate to their work (see below for more details). 

Who can sign up as a speaker?

At this time, only by association with research institutions in the Woods Hole area. Within these, students, researchers, techs, administration are welcome to sign-up. For administrative reasons we will not take sign-ups for visiting personnel who are available less than 4 months of the year

If you are unsure that you qualify please contact us.

Who can request a speaker?

Any group. For example: Garden Club, Boating Association; a 6th grade classroom; institution such as a church, or nursing home; a business, such as a brewery or art gallery.  At this time we are only accepting requests from Cape Cod. 

If you are unsure that you qualify please contact us. Any event that a speaker is invited to may not be ticketed beyond that of normal business costs (for food, drink, on premise costs).

What information do I have to provide?

We will be collecting information on you and your affiliation and basic contact information. Other required information for requesters is for scheduling and content, such as the age group and anticipated event time. 

Email information will not be shared beyond your matches.  

How many speakers can I request at a time?

Per-request you may choose up to three in rank choice. The Bureau will contact them for you and match you based on the availability you provide and the speakers availability. If you wish more than one speaker per date please make this clear in the comment section of the form. Please do not send multiple requests for different dates all at once. Please wait until each request has been handled before submitting another. All requests must honor the time frames detailed in this section.

Can I request a speaker for a one-on-one session?

At this time our primary goal is to reach the greater community, so at this time individual requests are unavailable. If you are looking for something else we can highly recommend Skype-a-Scientist, who may be able to better accommodate your needs at this time.

Can I directly communicate with a speaker before I request them?

We ask that you do not. We cannot stop you from googling them and reading any information they have made available online, but please leave the matches to us. After you have been matched do communicate further to establish any other needs – projectors, parking, introductions etc. that you foresee.

What if the speaker doesn’t show up or I don’t like them? What iF the requester stops responding?

For both speakers and requesters we have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, violence, or abusive language. Please be considerate that everyone is doing their best and public speaking is not easy and the best way to learn is to do. Workshops on public speaking and a mentoring program will be available to speakers. 

Are the talks available in other languages?

Each speaker will let us know if they can give the talk in a language other than English, look for this when browsing titles.

Why can’t I book all my speakers for the year 6 months in advance? Or last minute?

Though it may be helpful for your organization, we do not like to over-commit our speakers who may not know their schedule so far in advance, especially students, who are also human. This also works for last-minute requests, we ask that you respect the time of our speakers and follow the guidelines.

Can i request in-person talks?

Please indicate on the request form if your group is comfortable with an in-person talk or zoom or either. We take COVID-19 precautions very seriously and want to make sure both speakers and requesters feel comfortable with the arrangement. 

Do I have to pay the speaker?

This service is free. Small gifts of appreciation may be accepted. Reasonable travel expenses incurred by the speaker should be covered by the host – please communicate with the Bureau if you are unsure as to what consists of a travel expense. 

Speakers should consult their institution ethics or compensation guidelines before accepting anything from a host. 

Will the same talks be available every year?

Maybe! Sign-ups will be re-done each year and speakers may or may not choose to give the same talks. A list of the previous year’s speakers will be available, but if you really like a talk make sure to send us some feedback on it!

What if we don’t have the space? Can we come to you?

At this time we are looking into having a common space on the Woods Hole Campus that may host speakers and groups.

Can I make special requests, like hands on demonstrations rather than just a talk?

This is a Speakers Bureau primarily, however, if you communicate with your matched speaker and they are willing to work with demonstrations that is acceptable. Note we are not able to provide funds to the speaker based on your request.

Speaker Resources and Considerations

The Woods Hole Speakers Bureau is not responsible for monitoring the release of sensitive information during an engagement. Please make sure that you have received the appropriate guidance from your institution/ethics advisory to give a talk based off of your work. If you work for the federal government, additional guidance is available here.

The views and opinions expressed by members of the Woods Hole Speakers Bureau are their own unless otherwise stated. Expert and professional topics offered by the Speakers Bureau reflect the professional practices or research areas of the researchers, faculty, staff, retiree, and graduate student speakers. Presentations may be given or requested based on the personal interests of Speakers Bureau members and reflect their activities outside of their workplace responsibilities.


Thank you to Josef Kellndorfer for hosting the site. The idea of a speakers bureau is not new. Many exist around the country and have been hugely successful; Skype a Scientist, Science on Tap, and I myself was part of the University of Victoria’s Speakers Bureau. Other resources in the Woods Hole area include the WHSTEP and BIG, but the WHSB will hopefully fill a gap that connects beyond our schools and reaches all members of our community. I hope this grass roots effort to increase the connections between the wealth of knowledge in our scientific circles and the local establishments will continue for many years ahead and enrich all of our lives. 

Stay safe, stay curious. 

– Jin-Si Over (Founder of the Woods Hole Speakers Bureau) 

Follow us on instagram @whspeakersbureau or contact us at