Dimensions of Public Engagement with Science (PES) and

Multi-Site Public Engagement with Science - Synthetic Biology (MSPES)

Creating conversations between scientists and publics that both value and learn from

This wiki provides those who come here with material related to two projects funded by the National Science Foundation that follows up on work started in the development of a report by Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education about Public Engagement with Science. The first project, Dimensions of Public Engagement with Science, included collecting information on a number of PES projects across the field and a workshop that was held on May 12, 2011, at the Museum of Science in Boston. The second project, Multi-Site Public Engagement with Science - Synthetic Biology, was launched in October 2014.

Among the materials available on this site are descriptions of strategic directions for the field drafted at the PES workshop and various documents, presentations, reports, and other materials associated with the Dimensions of PES project such as the FINAL CATALOG of 201 different PES projects and the project summative evaluation. You can add other thoughts about PES as well. Go to the "files for sharing" page for a variety of pdfs related to this work.

The MSPES-SynBio project has a new name and new website at www.buildingwithbiology.org.

The Museum of Science has received a new award, Multi-Site Public Engagement with Science - Synthetic Biology (1421179), from NSF that is allowing us to launch a project in October 2014 with a number of informal science organizations and researchers that will help advance some of the strategic directions identified in the 2011 workshop. A copy of the project description from the proposal can be found here.

Jump to this page to find documents related to the MSPES project and this page for the MSPES Activity Developers Pages.

The Museum of Science, with a grant from the National Science Foundation, has collected information about a variety of projects that contributors have identified as moving in the direction of a paradigm for involving the public with science called "Public Engagement with Science," and subsequently held a workshop in Boston to explore strategic directions and specific project ideas for PES.

Public Engagement with Science in terms of informal science education refers to activities,
events, or interactions characterized by mutual learning—not one-way transmission from
“experts” to publics—among people of varied backgrounds, scientific expertise, and life
experiences who articulate and discuss their perspectives, ideas, knowledge, and values.
(McCallie et al., 2009)

This is seen in contrast to the Public Understanding of Science paradigm, which focuses on teaching or helping the public learn more science. Science learning may be an outcome of Public Engagement with Science (PES), but rather than building a program based upon a deficit of scientific and technical knowledge within the public, public engagement with science provides opportunities for the public to bring personal knowledge and values drawn from their own life experiences and aspirations into a dialogue about the benefits that science can provide to society.

The CAISE knowledge base has a page that identifies four different things we mean when we use the term "public engagement." This has lead to confusion in many conversations on the topic. For an initial stab at clarifying these different meanings go to the CAISE evidence wiki here;