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Communicating the Future: Engaging the Public in Basic Science

July 26 - 27, 2021

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On July 27-28, 2021, SciPEP will convene a virtual conference exploring the unique characteristics of the relationship between the public and basic research, drawing from the experience and expertise of our colleagues in the science and science communication communities. Communicating the Future: Engaging the Public in Basic Science will explore why the public and basic science should be connected and what current communication and engagement efforts are taking place, including the challenges and opportunities in this work. Ultimately, we intend to identify how scientists and professionals can work to engage the public with basic research as effectively as possible.

The conference program will be organized around the exploration of the why, what and how of the relationship between the public and basic science. The following aspects will be explored throughout:

Scholarship (e.g. communications research) – whether and how it can be applied to public engagement practice, and identification of new research questions;

Training – public engagement skills development for scientist-communicators and the communication professionals who work with them;

Engagement practice – activities or programs that provide opportunities for mutual learning or exchange of ideas between scientists and members of the public;

Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in public engagement; and

Evaluating the effectiveness of public engagement activities and programs.

What we discuss and learn at this conference will also inform future directions of SciPEP and the resources and training we propose to develop for basic scientists.


How do we move forward from here?

An astrophysicist, a political scientist, and science journalist turned college dean walk into a public engagement conference, and… what comes next? These thought leaders will reflect on the conference and look to the future, including identifying research gaps and resource needs for the future of communicating basic science.


Mariette DiChristina, Boston University

Brian Nord, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Roger Pielke Jr., University of Colorado



July 26 - 8:00 am
July 27 - 5:00 pm




Boston University