Public Engagement

Science and technology are an integral part of modern life, yet tensions continue to emerge at the intersection of core human values and certain scientific fields — from human embryonic stem cell and global climate-change research, to the teaching of evolution. Increasingly, this tension has interfered with scientific progress, the quality of science education, and the broader ability of the scientific enterprise to fully serve the needs of society.

"We need to engage the public in a more open and honest, bi-directional dialogue about science and technology and the products they give rise to, addressing not only the inherent benefits, but also the limits, perils and pitfalls," AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner, executive publisher of the journal Science, wrote in an editorial on public engagement. AAAS proposes to build on traditional public understanding efforts toward more comprehensive public-dialogue opportunities.

The activities of the Center for Public Engagement focus on:

  • Providing scientists and scientific institutions with the resources they need to have meaningful conversations with the public,
  • Convening scientists, public engagement researchers, and public engagement practitioners, and
  • Facilitating dialogue between scientists and the public to discuss the benefits, limits, and implications of scientific knowledge.

What is Public Engagement?

Learn about public engagement, types of activities, and who should be involved.

The Value of Public Engagement

Find advice and strategies to incorporate public engagement into your career.

Public Engagement Activities

The Center works with public science events and institutions to boost awareness and understanding.

Leshner Leadership Institute

The Institute empowers leading scientists and engineers to promote and conduct effective public engagement on important science-society issues. 

Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science and Technology

The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science recognizes early-career scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science activities.