Public engagement with science

Public engagement with science (and scientist engagement with the public)

Gaining a better understanding of how the general (U.S.) public thinks about and interacts with science and technology is critically important for protecting and expanding the role that scientific knowledge and discovery plays in modern life (particularly policymaking). Moreover, decreasing levels of public trust in essentially all major institutions (including science and scientists) underscores the need to better understand scientists’ motivations to engage with the public as well as to identify best practices for supporting fruitful engagement from both directions. To this end, a number of recent projects focus on identifying what the public thinks of new and emerging scientific issues and technologies (e.g., Markowitz, Englebourgh, Nisbet & Danylchuk, in press; Newman, Markowitz & Nisbet, in prep; Nisbet & Markowitz, 2014), including the use of drones for environmental conservation, stem cells for biomedical research, and responses to abrupt climate change.