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

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 includes a week-long introductory course in January of the fellowship year, followed by monthly webinars and mid-year and end-of-year meetings.

The initial cohort of 17 Fellows spent 2017 as full-time scientific community managers working with a diverse range of communities that include organizations promoting open collaboration in science, research networks, and professional scientific societies and associations.

In the first cohort, half of the community managers worked with scientific societies or associations and half were involved with scientific research collaborations. We anticipate in future cohorts there will be a similar split between fellows working with societies, associations, and research collaborations.

Fellowship timeline


  • Mid-summer - Call for applications opens.
  • Early fall - Long-listed applicants are selected and informed, and AAAS interviews long-listed applicants.
  • Early October - Short-listed applicants are selected and informed, and interview with AAAS panel.
  • November - Class of 2019 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 - all Fellows are expected to attend.
  • December - End-of-year debrief and experience exchange at AAAS headquarters - all Fellows are expected to attend.