AAAS Establishes Early Career Award in Public Engagement
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
The announcement of this award is an important step towards greater recognition of the need for public engagement on the part of scientists and their institutions. AAAS should be commended for their commitment to leadership in this area. Details below and here.
It will be interesting to see the criteria by which nominations are judged. As I noted last month, how public engagement is ultimately defined, its goals and outcomes, remains an open question. (See also this comment.)
There is more major news on this front coming in August including the launch of a new blog, and a special issue of a leading journal with articles that review different dimensions of public engagement activities along with the types of structural and cultural transformations needed within the science community and at universities. Be sure to check back here for the details.
AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science
Nomination Deadline: 15 October
The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science, established in 2010, recognizes early-career scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science activities. A monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration to the AAAS Annual Meeting, and reimbursement for reasonable hotel and travel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting to receive the prize are given to the recipient.
For the purposes of this award, public engagement activities are defined as the individual's active participation in efforts to engage with the public on science- and technology-related issues and promote meaningful dialogue between science and society.
The award will be given at the AAAS Annual Meeting.
Nominee must be an early-career scientist or engineer in academia, government or industry actively conducting research in any scientific discipline (including social sciences and medicine). Groups or institutions will not be considered for this award. AAAS employees are ineligible. One scientist or engineer will be chosen to receive the award on an annual basis.
* "Early career" is defined as an individual who has been in his/her current field for less than seven years and pre-tenure or job equivalent. Post-doctoral students are eligible for this award.
Nominee will have demonstrated excellence in his/her contribution 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: informal science education, public outreach, public policy, and/or science communication activities, such as mass media, public dialogue, radio, TV and film, science café, science exhibit, science fair, and social and online media.
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