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Public Engagement Programs

AAAS co-branded logo for the Center for Public Engagement with Science & Technology

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. Read more about our approach to inclusive public engagement in this 2022 Frontiers in Communication perspective article.

Increasing awareness and understanding of public engagement and its benefits

The Center participates in and disseminates research about science communication and public engagement, including:

  • Working closely with social scientists to inform training curriculum in science communication and public engagement.
  • Presenting talks on the value of public engagement and coordinating with colleagues at professional societies and other public engagement practitioners.

Demonstrating excellence in public engagement with science

A young person and an adult interact with bones from a human foot during the 2020 AAAS Family Science Days event. Credit: Jordan Pickett
Families interact with scientists during the annual Family Science Days event, part of the AAAS Annual Meeting. | Jordan Pickett
  • The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science and Technology and AAAS Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science recognize and reward scientists and engineers for excellence in public engagement.
  • Family Science Days (including Meet a Scientist) was held during the AAAS Annual Meeting in collaboration with local universities, science centers, and others. Thousands of families attended this annual free, two-day public event and scientists attending the meeting have opportunities to see and do public engagement with science.
  • AAAS was 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.

Learn about past and upcoming public engagement events, and public exhibits at the AAAS Art Gallery.

Training scientists to engage with public audiences

Scientists and engineers participate in a Communicating Science workshop at Georgia Tech. | Angela Ayers/Georgia Tech
  • Communicating Science workshops provided 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 trained and empowered an annual cohort of public engagement fellows to be agents of change in their communities and institutions. Each year’s cohort focused 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

Hundreds of people sit in an auditorium listening to speakers during the 2020 Communicating Science Seminar. | Robb Cohen Photography
The annual Communicating Science Seminar brings together people interested in public engagement. | Robb Cohen Photography