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Scientific community/Science communication

The introductory-level, Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals module introduces scientists and engineers to the latest science communication research and basic best practices for engaging with the public. Participants use the AAAS Framework for Public Engagement to develop individual plans that include a public engagement goal and address ways to engage a relevant audience with tailored messages. Participants also brainstorm an engagement scenario and identify next steps to put their plans into action. This workshop is designed for scientists and engineers who don’t have much experience with public engagement, although experienced engagers may also find it useful.

On Friday, February 5, several hundred participants gathered online for the ninth annual AAAS Communicating Science Seminar, held every year as part of the AAAS Annual Meeting. This year’s virtual seminar included two panel sessions, one on reaching underserved audiences during a pandemic, the other on equitable community partnerships. These were followed by six different breakout sessions on topics ranging from “science zines” to the new “Broader Impacts Wizard” tool for developing engagement activities. The sessions overall had a strong theme of encouraging scientists to meaningfully engage with communities in a way that centers their interests, strengths, and needs.

The three-hour Engaging Policymakers workshop illuminates the policy landscape, illustrating where and how policy happens and the many roles scientists and engineers can play in decision-making. Using the AAAS Public Engagement framework as a guide, participants develop an individual engagement goal, strategically identify a target audience and identify key ideas around which to center conversations. Facilitators guide participants through thinking critically about mechanisms for engaging policymakers, encouraging dialogue and evaluating their activity to inform future engagements. Participants analyze a real-world example that informs their engagement plans.

The introductory-level, Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals module introduces scientists and engineers to the latest science communication research and basic best practices for engaging with the public. Participants use the AAAS Framework for Public Engagement to develop individual plans that include a public engagement goal and address ways to engage a relevant audience with tailored messages. Participants also brainstorm an engagement scenario and identify next steps to put their plans into action. This workshop is designed for scientists and engineers who don’t have much experience with public engagement, although experienced engagers may also find it useful.

Throughout its 13-year history, the AAAS Communicating Science Workshop program has offered workshops to scientists and engineers via their institutions. Institutions (which have ranged from universities to federal agencies and the military to professional societies) pay for AAAS facilitators to come to them and train a group of usually 20-50 scientists and engineers -- whether graduate students, professors, research scientists or applied scientists -- in best practices for science communication and public engagement. Now, individuals can sign up for a “AAAS-hosted” three-hour workshop at the cost of $125 per person.

AAAS is launching a project to support the responsible development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare contexts, and specifically in public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the project released a landscape assessment of existing public opinion work in this area compiled by a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This report summarizes what we know about public views of the use of AI in healthcare and in areas affecting the pandemic response, with an emphasis on understanding the concerns of populations most vulnerable to the negative impacts of AI technology.

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