To recognize scientists, journalists, and public servants for significant contributions to science and to the public’s understanding of science, the Association administers the awards listed below. All awards are presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting immediately following the award year.


AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science

formerly “AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology”


The Award

The AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science, established in 1987, recognizes scientists and engineers who make outstanding contributions to the "popularization of science."

The recipient receives a monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration, and reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting to receive the prize.



  • The Award shall be given annually to scientists or engineers who, while working in their fields, have also contributed substantially to the public's engagement with science or technology.
  • Types of activities to be considered include books, magazines, and newspaper articles; broadcasting; lecturing; museum presentation and exhibit design; and other public outreach activities, local, national, and/or international.
  • Nominators are encouraged to identify candidates whose contributions reach broad audiences that include women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and senior citizens.


Eligible individuals include scientists and engineers from all disciplines, including social and behavioral sciences and biomedical fields who have contributed substantially to the public's engagement with science or technology. Only materials produced for general audiences, as opposed to professional or trade audiences, will be considered. Employees of the AAAS are not eligible.


  • All nominations must be printed or typed and submitted fully completed and postmarked on or before midnight, 7 September.
  • Nominations may be made by AAAS affiliate organizations, universities, government agencies, media, research organizations, and individuals.
  • Prior nomination does not exclude a candidate from consideration in subsequent years.
  • The panel of judges will include distinguished scientists, engineers, and science communicators named by AAAS. The decisions of the Panel will be final.
  • During the Award year, AAAS may ask winners to contribute to public engagement with science by speaking to groups of AAAS constituencies, helping to identify people to work with youth and the public, and participating in other AAAS activities related to public communication of science.

Nomination Procedures

You should provide:

  • Name, position, institution, professional address and e-mail, professional phone and fax, home address and home phone number of the candidate;
  • A name, position, institution, and professional address and phone of the nominator;
  • A statement of the action or actions that form the basis for the nomination;
  • The candidate's vita;
  • The names of two supporting persons whom AAAS may contact for more information on the candidate and his/her/their contributions;
  • At least one representative sample which illustrates the nominee's contribution. Books, videotapes, brochures, magazine articles, or other materials are appropriate.

All materials become the property of AAAS.


Please submit all information to:

Award for Public Engagement with Science Awards Coordinator
Education & Human Resources Directorate
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue, NW Room 639
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-326-6645
Fax: 202-371-9849

2012 Recipient

Richard Alley at the Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand during filming of the NSF-sponsored PBS TV Series Earth: The Operators' Manual (Photo courtesy of Penn State Department of Geosciences)
Richard B. Alley is recognized for his decades-long, broadbased and exceptionally effective efforts communicating the best of climate science to excite the interest of the general public and policymakers.

View a list of all past recipients.


All materials must be postmarked by 15 August.