October 24, 2020

Priorities for the Future report, from The Public Face of Science in America

Posted by Laura Guertin

I blogged back in February 2019 about a Communicating Science seminar I attended at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting, led by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. There, I learned about a program I was not aware of prior to that meeting, and I thought others would be interested in learning more about their Public Face of Science initiative.

The Public Face of Science is dedicated to exploring the complex and evolving relationship between scientists and the public. This three-year project engages the expertise of a broad range of leaders in communication, law, humanities, the arts, journalism, public affairs, and the physical, social, and life sciences. — American Academy of Arts & Sciences website

According to their website, the primary objectives of the Public Face of Science initiative are:

  1. Raising awareness in the scientific and science communication communities on how the public currently views science and how they encounter it;
  2. Suggesting research considerations for public polling organizations, scientific societies, and social scientists for collecting additional data on public attitudes and encounters with science; and
  3. Improving the practice of science communication and engagement.

The first report is on Perceptions of Science in America (Feb. 2018), and the second report explores Encountering Science in America (Feb. 2019). Now, the series is complete with the third and final report (published Aug. 2020).

The three priorities, along with their goals and actions, are presented below in images available for download from the publication webpage. Not represented in these images is the content from a Special Section: The Crucial Role of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.


Priority 1: Building Capacity for Effective Science Communication and Engagement in the Scientific Community


Priority 2: Shaping the Narrative around Science


Priority 3: Developing Systemic Support for Science Engagement Efforts


The conclusion and report appendicies are important for all AGU members to keep in mind as we move forward in time – and we can look to programs like AGU’s Sharing Science for resources and support:

We are at a moment in time when the enthusiasm and support for science communication and engagement can be harnessed for greater impact through wide­scale efforts to build capacity.  —  Conclusion, The Public Face of Science in America, Priorities for the Future

Those looking for even more resources, including ones that can be utilized in the classroom, you may be interested in viewing the NAGT webinar Science Communication for Social Justice, or SERC module on Professional Communication Projects: Training Science Students to Communicate.