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In July 2005, AAAS held a two-day conference of scientific and academic associations and human rights organizations to explore ways in which the scientific community can become more directly engaged in human rights. Forty-two representatives of many of the largest scientific organizations in the United States, including the American Chemical Society, American Statistical Association, and the American Public Health Association, took part in the conference that resulted in a set of recommendations. Over the course of the two days, participants confirmed the need for a network of scientists, engineers and health professionals engaged in human rights, endorsed the formation of a Science and Human Rights Coalition, and affirmed AAAS as its natural home.

In 2007, AAAS was in a position to pursue this initiative and convened a series of planning meetings to lay the foundations for the Coalition. In preparation for the launch of the Coalition in January 2009, these planning meetings produced key foundational documents, active working groups, and the participation of over 20 associations. Materials from each of the planning meetings are available below.

In 2016, the Coalition undertook a visioning exercise, reflecting on accomplishments and planning for the future. Out of that exercise, in January 2017 the Coalition moved from a Working Group model to a project-based model, in order to increase flexibility, efficiency, and impact. The Working Groups became discussion groups, which are hosted on the Trellis Communities by AAAS site. 

June 12, 2007: Agenda, Notes and Report
September 11, 2007: Agenda and Report
December 10, 2007: Agenda and Report
March 3, 2008: Agenda and Report
June 9, 2008: Agenda and Report
September 15, 2008: Agenda and Report