AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science
The AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science, formerly "AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology” 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.
2016 Award Recipient: Richard Tapia
Richard Tapia is honored for his remarkable career blending world-class scholarship, admirable mentoring and profound contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and public engagement.
View a list of all past recipients.
- Eligible nominees include active or retired scientists and engineers from all disciplines, who have contributed substantially to the public's engagement with science or technology.
- Materials to be considered include websites, books, magazines, and newspaper articles; video, film, and broadcasting; lecturing; museum presentation and exhibit design; and other public outreach activities, local, national, and/or international.
- Only materials produced for general audiences, as opposed to professional or trade audiences, will be considered.
- Employees of the AAAS are not eligible.
- Nominees considered “early career,” which is defined as an individual who has been in thier current field for less than seven years and pre-tenure or job equivalent, including post-doctoral fellows (meaning the nominee is typically within 7 years of receiving a PhD) may be eligible for the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.
- All nominations must be submitted fully completed on or before midnight on August 15.
- Nominations may be made by individuals, universities, government agencies, media, research organizations, and AAAS affiliate organizations.
- Publishers may only offer one nomination.
- Prior nomination does not exclude a nominee from re-nomination. Re-nomination is encouraged.
- The selection committee will include distinguished scientists, engineers, science communicators, and science popularizers named by AAAS.
- 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.
All nominations must be submitted electronically through our nomination form. If you require an alternate format, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations will not be accepted by email or by post (except under specific circumstances). You will be asked to provide:
- for the nominee: name, position, institution, e-mail, phone, and professional and home addresses;
- for the nominator: name, position, institution, e-mail, phone, and professional and home addresses;
- a statement of the public engagement activities that form the basis for the nomination (PDF, 500 word limit);
- at least two representative material samples or other documentation which illustrate or describe the nominee’s contribution (PDF);
- the nominee’s CV (PDF);
- and the names and e-mail addresses of two supporting persons whom AAAS may contact for more information on the nominee and thier contributions.
- Nominations must be made in English.
- Re-nominations MUST include a cover letter (PDF) recapitulating the application material, listing additional work since last submission, and explaining why the nominee deserves to be reconsidered.
- All physical material (books, CDs etc) submitted becomes the property of AAAS.
The award selection committee will evaluate nominations with attention to several categories of merit (below). Nominees will likely excel in one category more than others. There is no strict rubric for evaluation. Weight will be given to nominees whose outreach work has:
- Impact. The numbers of people reached and the depth of the communication.
- Critical audiences. Outreach efforts are often focused on audiences that are easy to reach such as science interested college students. Consideration will be given to scientists who reach beyond those accessible audiences, to engage audiences such as science averse populations, economically disadvantaged populations, women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and senior citizens etc.
- An important or difficult message. Topics vital to contemporary society or controversial as well as topics that may be considered too difficult or complex for general audiences.
Nominations of individuals whose contributions reach broad audiences that include women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and senior citizens, are encouraged per AAAS Awards diversity statement:
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is committed to equal opportunity for all persons, without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other protected categories. AAAS seeks as diverse a pool of award nominations as possible, including as well a wide range of disciplines, institutional types, and geographical locations.
Each year, AAAS recognizes significant contributions to science and the public’s understanding of science. Learn more about these awards and nominate a scientist, engineer, author, journalist or public servant for their outstanding work.
Inquiries may be directed to:
Rebekah Corlew, PhD