Highlights – For the DOE, the Media/Press, and other Sponsors

SIMES is often asked to create a science “Highlight” that features a newly discovered phenomenon soon to be described and published in a renowned journal. SIMES follows a specific format for these Highlights — a single PowerPoint slide with a Note. This is a format that has proven easily transferable to the media for a press release or to the Department of Energy for a policy briefing.

Please follow the process below to develop the DOE Highlight:

The process starts when your paper has been accepted for publication.

  • Please notify the SIMES Director and/or  SIMES Publications Coordinator of the upcoming article and your proposed Highlight well before it is published.
  • We will work with you and/or your student author to ensure that the Highlight is clear, well-written and lively, and meets all the DOE format and content requirements.
  • Provide SIMES Director with a short (few sentences) summary, relevant to introduce the work presented in the Highlight to the program managers in email accompanying the Highlight. This can emphasize the big picture view, as well as synergies and collaborations within SIMES and with facilities like LCLS.
  • SIMES Director will then submit it to the Director of the Materials Science and Engineering Division – Basic Energy Sciences, DOE.  This is timed so that she sees it just before publication.

 Formatting Your Highlights

See these links for instructions and examples:

  • Summary of things to keep in mind in writing a DOE Highlight



 DOE Requirements

  • Must be a BES-supported scientific achievement
  • Must be referenced to a recent archival publication (i.e., no unpublished work)
  • Send an electronic copy of the paper with the highlight (preprints ok to allow time to edit the highlight and issue it with the publication) – also send links or preliminary copies of any press releases from your institution
  • Avoid the use of scientific jargon and discipline specific terms
  • The highlight is targeted for an exceptionally diverse audience: non-specialist scientists as well as non-scientists
  • Choose an appealing title that will compel the readers to read the entire text
  • State the achievement in the first sentence as a clearly worded statement of the discovery, breakthrough, or advancement – Use lay language if possible
  • Follow this with a statement as to why the achievement is scientifically important and the broader impact (societal, technological, etc.)
  • Technology implications/potential applications, energy, and/or scientific discovery
  • Do not include future plans and what is now being pursued
  • Provide a medium resolution JPEG figure that succinctly illustrates the scientific achievement.


Other Requirements

  • Format must be one PowerPoint slide with Notes
  • Follow instructions on Example of Highlight slide 2014 for font, color, etc.
  • Correct shade of green – use 16-102-54 (red, green blue)
  • Keep to the word or sentence count specified
  • Scientific Achievement – one sentence
  • Significance and Impact – one sentence
  • Research Details – one or two bullet points
  • Logos of SLAC, SIMES, and other organizations (if appropriate) in the footer.
  • Reference SIMES in the Scientific Achievement section. E.g. “Research by SIMES scientists has discovered the breed of Schrodinger‘s cat”. If not SIMES, at least reference SLAC researchers, but you must state specifically that we at SIMES and SLAC did this work!
  • Reference the paper.  If the reference is very long and will overcrowd the slide, abbreviate it and put full reference in notes.  E.g. “Yang et al., High-energy physics explained, Nature, in press.”
  • Include the statement that work was performed at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. This can go at the foot of the slide, or below the figure – wherever it will fit.
  • Notes section: talking points, minimum 175 words.  Include full reference for the paper.


Keep in mind

  • Headline should be short and “catchy”.
  • You need to grab the reader’s interest right at the start, in the first few seconds when they scan the headline and perhaps the first section of the Scientific Achievement section
  • Your audience is much wider than your own colleagues. Readers may be scientists in fields other than physics.
  • Use the “Significance and Impact” section to explain to the DOE, to the funders, and to scientists in other fields, why they should be excited about your results. Short, impactful statements work well here. Keep it simple and clear for people who aren’t expert in your field.


Think about

  • What is it about this work that is really important?
  • What future research and outcomes will it impact?
  • Does it redirect research? Will it make something easier/faster/clearer?
  • Will it lead to faster/cheaper/smaller/better widgets?
  • What difficult or long-standing problem does it solve?
  • Avoid jargon specific to your area of science