A Federal Strategy for Science Engagement
The Biden-Harris Administration should adopt a federal strategy for science engagement that enables all Americans to learn from, use, and participate in the process and outputs of science.
Investments in science and technology have the greatest impact when paired with increased public access to, and participation in, the scientific enterprise. Emerging areas of basic and applied research, such as synthetic biology and artificial intelligence, have important implications for society. Science engagement is essential for improving public scientific literacy, raising and discussing ethical considerations, and aligning research with public priorities and values. Broadening participation in the scientific enterprise is more than a question of who “does” the science. Rather, it requires looking beyond traditional science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for creative ways to increase public exposure to, understanding of, and meaningful contributions to science.
The first steps in a federal strategy for science engagement should focus on establishing and cultivating federal expertise in science engagement and improving coordination among federal science agencies. These efforts will emphasize knowledge sharing and ultimately allow for a greater understanding of the impact of science engagement on community and scientific outcomes.
About the Contributors
This memo was drafted by contributors from the Day One Project, Advancing Research Impact in Society, LISTEN Network, with generous support from the Kavli Foundation in consultation with participants from a Day One Project workshop focused on science engagement.
Advancing Research Impact in Society is housed at the University of Missouri and works with scientists and engagement practitioners to build capacity, advance scholarship, grow partnerships and provide resources to help them engage with and demonstrate the impact of research in their communities and society.
The Leaders in Science and Technology Engagement Network, or LISTEN Network, connects and supports perspectives from across the science-engagement ecosystem, including informal science education, public engagement, journalism and science writing, live events, community science, and science-communication training. LISTEN network participants work to nurture relationships among all people and science, and together envision a world where everyone can participate in, use, learn from, and guide science.
The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work. The foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, initiatives and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics, as well as the Kavli Prize and a program in public engagement with science.
The Day One Project is dedicated to democratizing the policymaking process by working with new and expert voices across the science and technology community, helping to develop actionable policies that can improve the lives of all Americans, and readying them for Day One of a future presidential term. For more about the Day One Project, visit dayoneproject.org.