- Nominations may be made by individuals, universities, government agencies, media, research organizations, and AAAS affiliate organizations.
- Editors from publishing houses may only offer one nomination.
- Self-nominations are permitted.
- Prior nomination does not exclude a nominee applying in subsequent years. Re-nomination is encouraged.
- Nominees must be individual scientists or engineers. Groups or institutions will not be considered for this award.
- AAAS employees are ineligible.
- Eligible nominees include active or retired scientists and engineers from all disciplines who have contributed substantially to the public's engagement with science or technology. Public engagement activities must be above and beyond job responsibilities.
- Nominees considered “early career” may be eligible for the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science. Early career is defined as an individual who has completed their terminal degree within seven years of the deadline for nominations.
Inquiries may be directed to the Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology via email
Selection and Criteria
- One scientist or engineer will be chosen to receive the award each year.
- Successful nominees will have demonstrated excellence in their contributions to public engagement with science activities, with a focus on interactive dialogue between the individual and a non-scientific, public audience(s).
- Types of public engagement activities might include but are not limited to: informal science education; public outreach and public dialogue activities, such as science cafés and science festivals; public policy activities; science communication activities, such as mass media, including radio, TV, books, and film; and social and online media.
- The selection committee will include distinguished scientists, engineers, and science communicators named by AAAS. Decisions of the committee are final after approved by the board.
- AAAS may ask winners to contribute to public engagement with science by speaking to groups of AAAS constituencies, helping to identify people to work with youth and the public, and participating in other AAAS activities related to public engagement with science.
The award selection committee will evaluate nominations with attention to several categories of merit (below). Nominees will likely excel in one category more than others. Weight will be given to nominees whose outreach work demonstrates:
- Engagement. Are the nominee’s activities in line with AAAS’s definition of good public engagement? Public engagement with science describes intentional, meaningful interactions that provide opportunities for mutual learning between scientists and members of the public. Mutual learning refers not just to the acquisition of knowledge, but also to increased familiarity with a breadth of perspectives, frames, and worldviews. Goals for public engagement with science in addition to mutual learning include civic engagement skills and empowerment, increased awareness of the cultural relevance of science, and recognition of the importance of multiple perspectives and domains of knowledge to scientific endeavors.
- Impact. The numbers of people reached and the depth of the engagement.
- Critical audiences. Outreach efforts are often focused on audiences that are easy to reach such as science-interested college students. Consideration will be given to scientists who reach beyond those accessible audiences, to engage audiences such as science-averse populations, economically-disadvantaged populations, women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, senior citizens, etc.
- An important or difficult message. Topics vital to contemporary society or controversial as well as topics that may be considered too difficult or complex for general audiences.