Engaging Scientists

In consultation with the AAAS Center for Public Engagement, the AAAS DoSER  ‘Engaging Scientists’ project supports scientists in becoming more effective ambassadors for their research interests, their disciplines, and for science as a whole with a broad and diverse spectrum of publics, and particularly with religious communities.

Scientific research and its applications impact environments, communities, and individuals. New advances have and will continue to have implications for understanding(s) of what it means to be human, our place in the universe, and our understanding of the world around us. The social and philosophical dimensions of science are also of great interest and concern to society at large.

According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, most Americans identify as religious or spiritual. However, many scientists are unclear about how to effectively engage with religious perspectives and worldviews. This project helps scientists develop strategies and skillsets for constructive and culturally competent public science engagement, including on topics that intersect with faith and religion.

The Engaging Scientists Project includes four related initiatives.

Scientific Society Events

Members of the DoSER team and public engagement facilitators from the AAAS Center for Public Engagement organize and host science communication workshops at prominent scientific association meetings. Where appropriate, these are paired with formal research symposia highlighting effective, dialogue-driven engagement strategies and projects with religious communities and other publics that are already taking place within that discipline. Through these events, we hope that science professionals, researchers, and students will gain an appreciation for cultural competence, and learn strategies and best practices for public science engagement with diverse audiences.

Below are our conference symposia and workshops:

Campus Events

The AAAS DoSER team and Public Engagement facilitators is organizing a series of science communication workshops and speaker events at U.S. research universities geared toward both established and early career scholars. The content focuses on effective, dialogue-driven engagement strategies for communicating about science in the classroom, in research settings, and with broader publics. Campus events will also include awards to recognize and promote constructive science engagement between university scientists and their local communities, including religious institutions.

Applications for campus events will be evaluated and chosen competitively in late 2017, for events in 2018-2019.  If your institution is interested in hosting an Engaging Scientists workshop, please email us at DoSER@aaas.org.

Print and Online Resources

As part of the project, DoSER is producing a series of booklets that explore the social context for science engagement and provide an overview of best science communication practices, including for engagement with religious publics, drawing on established guidelines and the latest peer-reviewed research.  The booklet series also highlights science engagement projects from a range of disciplines, with commentary and reflections on these projects from lead researchers, collaborators and participants.

The program is also producing an array of online resources for public engagement, including video archives of academic symposia, additional examples of science engagement projects with commentary, and a web-only version of the workshop.

Engaging Scientists Network

The DoSER program supports the AAAS ‘Force for Science’ initiative.  Participants in our workshops or in other DoSER activities are encouraged to join our mailing list and to sign up for our ‘Engaging Scientists’ database, to help link scientists interested in science advocacy and engagement activities with religious institutions and faith communities.

Through online social media such as our website, Twitter, Facebook and AAAS’ own Trellis platform, DoSER and our partner programs within AAAS will participate in and promote dialogue on effective science engagement, share resources, and highlight opportunities for science engagement with diverse publics.

This project is a collaborative effort with the AAAS Center for Public Engagement, with whom DoSER will design a series of science communication workshops that assist scientists in their efforts to communicate effectively with religious audiences and students.