AAAS has a long-standing commitment to infusing the principles of public engagement throughout the scientific community. The AAAS strategic planning process, which is in its final stages, has underscored the need to evolve the way we think about public engagement, especially in the current landscape. One key priority is building trust between scientists and engineers and broader communities across the nation.
As we take our first steps toward acting on this commitment, we have made the decision to close the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science & Technology as a standalone center and re-entrench its functions within AAAS programs to expand their impact. Between 2004 and 2022, the Center served as a hub for AAAS public engagement efforts, inspiring a shift away from the “sage on a stage” method of one-way science communication toward a productive, two-way dialogue among diverse audiences through seminars, workshops, fellowships and special events. We are proud of nearly two decades of accomplishments, and we deeply value the trust the community has placed in us as a catalyst of this movement.
Several programs previously housed in the Center will be integrated into other programs at AAAS. For example, AAAS will train science communicators through the Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship and the Diverse Voices in Science Journalism Internship. The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science and Technology and AAAS Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science will continue to recognize and reward scientists and engineers for excellence in public engagement. Additionally, climate communication resources developed by the Center, including the What We Know report and the How We Respond initiative, will still be available.
We are designing an exciting future for public engagement at AAAS and will leverage insights and experience from the Center to strategically engage with stakeholders and communities.