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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
The Science of Science Communication: A Research Agenda
Project Scope

An ad-hoc multidisciplinary committee of experts will produce a consensus report that synthesizes what is known from research about effective science communication and describes a comprehensive research agenda to improve the communication of science related to important societal issues and decisions that are often contentious.

The committee will:
• identify the psychological, social, cultural, contextual, political, and economic factors, media influences, and communications approaches that affect how science relating to a broad range of issues (e.g., childhood vaccinations, nanotechnology, climate change, food safety, healthy behaviors), is understood, perceived and used and how change in the understanding, perception and acceptance of science occurs;

• examine similarities and differences in the influence of these factors across issues, and identify those that, if better understood, have the greatest potential to improve the communication of science on controversial issues;

• develop a conceptual framework to guide its synthesis and research recommendations with consideration of the following: communication purposes (goals and objectives); audiences and participants; communication setting, tools, devices, social interactions, and networks; type of media; type of social issue or science domain;

• identify critical issues related to research design and measurement.


Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation (via Climate Central), William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


February 24-25, 2016 - Keck Center, Room 201, Washington, DC. ► Agenda with Presentations
December 17, 2015
(9:00 am - 3:45 pm) -  Keck Center, Room 103, Washington, DC 
Agenda with Presentations

Committee Members

Alan Leshner, (Chair), IOM, CEO Emeritus, AAAS
Ann Bostrom, University of Washington
Wändi Bruine de Bruin, University of Leeds and Carnegie Mellon University
Karen Cook, NAS, Stanford University
Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University
William Hallman, Rutgers University
Jeffrey Henig, Columbia University
Robert Hornik, University of Pennsylvania
Andrew Maynard, Arizona State University
Matthew Nisbet, Northeastern University
Ellen Peters, Ohio State University
Sylvia Rowe, Tufts University
Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin at Madison


Melissa Welch-Ross, Study Director
Holly Rhodes, Program Officer
Emily Backes, Research Associate
Leticia Green, Program Assistant

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