The AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is designed to improve online collaboration and community-building in science.

In its pilot year the program has three broad goals:

Professionalize and institutionalize the role of community management within scientific organizations;

Provide professional development resources to individuals who manage communities and collaborations in research organizations and scientific associations;

Collect and disseminate knowledge about building strong collaborations and communities, including the first landscape survey of scientific community engagement professionals.

Community engagement is an emerging profession, especially in science. The individuals who carry out these roles may be doing so in informal ways, sometimes in addition to other responsibilities. They may not even recognize themselves as “community managers.” Frequently they are the only person in the role in their organization, which can leave them feeling isolated and unsupported.

The AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program will provide training, peer support, and a shared knowledge base for Fellows. Training will include a week-long introductory course in January 2017, followed by monthly webinars and mid-year and end-of-year meetings.

The initial cohort of 18 Fellows will spend the duration of 2017 as full-time scientific community managers. Half of the Fellows will already hold a community engagement position in their organizations, while the other half will be interested in entering the profession and being placed within a host organization.

We anticipate that half of the community managers will be at scientific societies or associations and half will be involved with scientific research collaborations.

Fellowship timeline


  • Mid-September - Call for applications opens
  • Mid-October - Call for applications closes. Long-listed applicants are selected and informed
  • Late October - AAAS interviews long-listed applicants
  • Mid-November - Short-listed applicants are selected and informed
  • Late November - AAAS and host organizations interview short-listed applicants
  • Early December - Initial class of Fellows are selected and informed


  • January - Fellowship year begins with training at AAAS headquarters - all Fellows are expected to attend
  • June - Mid-year training and experience exchange at AAAS headquarters
  • December - End-of-year debrief and experience exchange at AAAS headquarters