The AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology provides scientists and scientific institutions with opportunities and resources to have meaningful conversations with the public.
Increasing awareness and understanding of public engagement and its benefits
The Center participates in and disseminates research about science communication and public engagement, including:
- The Communicating Science program works closely with social scientists to inform training curriculum in science communication and public engagement.
- Center staff present talks on the value of public engagement and coordinate with colleagues at professional societies and other public engagement practitioners.
Demonstrating excellence in public engagement with science
- The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science and Technology and AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science recognize and reward scientists and engineers for excellence in public engagement.
- Family Science Days (including Meet a Scientist!) is held during the AAAS Annual Meeting in collaboration with local universities, science centers, and others. Thousands of families attend this free, two-day public event, and scientists attending the meeting have opportunities to see public engagement with science in action.
- AAAS is a founding partner of the USA Science & Engineering Festival.
In addition to annual events and programs, the Center leads or collaborates with others on special projects:
- What We Know supports improved climate change communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. The Center convened a panel of experts to develop and disseminate a report on the realities, risks, and responses to climate change.
- How We Respond significantly expands the discussion about responses to climate change begun in the What We Know initiative, focusing on how science supports communities’ work to assess and respond to the impacts of climate change, especially at the city to state level. The long-term goal of the How We Respond initiative is to help communities and decision-makers focus on solutions and take action on climate issues, grounded in both science and local needs.
- Building with Biology involves teams of synthetic biology scientists and informal science education (ISE) practitioners co-developing public engagement activities about the science and societal implications of synthetic biology.
Training scientists to engage with public audiences
- Communicating Science workshops provide scientists and engineers with tools for effectively engaging the public, including journalists and policymakers, in a variety of public and professional settings.
- The Leshner Leadership Institute trains and empowers fifteen public engagement fellows each year to be agents of change in their communities and institutions. Each year’s cohort focuses on a science and society issue with opportunities for public engagement.
- The Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows program strengthens the connections between scientists and journalists by placing advanced undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level scientists, engineers and mathematicians at media organizations nationwide.
- The Diverse Voices in Science Journalism Internship, designed for individuals with a deep commitment to extending the reach of science journalism into communities where there is currently limited participation, places students in 10-week, paid internships at Science magazine.
Building capacity for conducting public engagement with science
- The Communicating Science Seminar at the AAAS Annual Meeting convenes hundreds of scientists, public engagement researchers, and communication practitioners to discuss research and practice in science communication. Watch video recordings of past seminars.
- Graduate Student Communication Training is a group working to connect graduate student communication training programs.
- Monthly discussion group of public engagement professionals at science societies to share updates and expertise and discuss common challenges.
- The AAAS Member Community (formerly known as Trellis) is a scientific communication and collaboration platform developed by AAAS. Join discussions with scientists, public engagement professionals and communication researchers in the Public Engagement with Science Group.