Through microscopes and telescopes, new scientific and engineering insights allow us to see worlds we never knew existed, and drive innovation to improve people’s lives. The blurry microscopes of the 1920s gave way to a revolution in imaging that vividly revealed 46 human chromosomes, making it possible to identify the cause of genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome. The sequencing of the human genome, coupled with the power of computer-generated pattern recognition, uncovered the genetic flaws that cause diverse childhood leukemias, many of which are now treatable.
AAAS and the Science family of journals are working to further such scientific progress by advocating for the research enterprise, and by bringing scientists and engineers together worldwide to address urgent societal concerns. As part of an ambitious Transformation Initiative, AAAS in 2015 began focusing more intensively on advocacy and service to members. We spoke out against barriers to women in science, for example, and we helped scientists and engineers more effectively communicate key scientific findings. We also worked to improve science education, and we engaged directly with the public, through such events as Family Science Days. AAAS has transformed its journals, too, by adopting digital-first strategies to enhance scientific communication. Trellis, a new digital communication and collaboration platform, is being developed to make it easy for individuals, collaborations, and organizations to work together and share scientific information.
AAAS exerts a unique influence by informing the public and our representatives about the importance of science to our nation and the world. As part of those efforts, the association advocates for science diplomacy and international research collaboration while promoting inclusiveness and diversity in science. In 2015, for instance, the association administered travel awards for women scientists participating in an international Gender Summit, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) program, Mentoring Women in International Research Collaborations (MWIRC) in STEM. Also in 2015, AAAS built upon its historic 2014 agreement with the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Collaboration across three fields of neuroscience, supported by the Lounsbery Foundation and others, will result in a scientist-exchange program between the two countries (see International section).
To further encourage inclusiveness and reward innovation globally, AAAS in 2015 launched the Marion Milligan Mason Awards, honoring early-career women in the chemical sciences (see Giving section), and it again administered the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) competition, a U.S. State Department effort to encourage young entrepreneurs (see International section). AAAS provided essential recognition for talented journalists who communicate scientific advances and issues to the public, too: For the first time since 1945, the historic AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards program (see Awards and Public Engagement sections) expanded to accept international entries, thanks to a generous doubling by The Kavli Foundation of the program’s endowment. The AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellows program, dating to 1974, also continued to promote excellence in science journalism, by dispatching science and engineering scholars to newsrooms (see Education, Outreach, and Careers section).
Communicating the scientific reality of global climate change was the focus of a policy briefing on Capitol Hill and a related AAAS symposium, hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science. “Climate Science, 50 Years Later,” supported by the American Meteorological Society and the Linden Trust for Conservation, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first official climate-change warning to a U.S. President and reaffirmed the 2014 AAAS What We Know report. The symposium also marked the launch of the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute, which announced the first cohort of 15 fellows—all climate scientists with an interest in promoting science-society dialogue. The Leshner Leadership Fellows will be supported by the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology, and the association’s popular Communicating Science workshops, which have provided training for more than 6,700 scientists and engineers since 2008 (see Public Engagement section).
AAAS advocacy work in 2015 included strong opposition to ideological attacks on climate-change scientists and their findings, a call for research to better understand the root causes of gun violence, media interviews on the value of federal investments in science, and more (see Public Statements section). Our advocacy efforts were bolstered by programs that help to bring scientific insight to the policymaking process. These included the association’s well-respected analysis of U.S. research and development funding trends (see Government Relations section), and the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, which in 2015 sent 280 scientists and engineers to work with Congress and many executive-branch agencies or departments as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (see Science, Policy, and Society section). To prepare the next-generation of civic-minded innovators, AAAS also supported a wide range of capacity-building programs, from efforts to improve K-12 science curriculum, to the NSF’s Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM (see Science Education section).
In 2015, scientific reports published by the growing Science family of journals—including Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, the open-access journal Science Advances, and coming soon, Science Robotics and Science Immunology—described a promising new melanoma vaccine trial, an enhanced lithium-air battery design, genetic tools to combat elephant poaching, a new hominin mandible that raised fascinating questions about human evolution, and much more. (Incidentally, a 2015 Science Advances study on the sixth mass extinction made its way into the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked on Altmetric.com, a metrics reporting site for scholarly content.) Every member of AAAS plays an integral role in accelerating such advances, by supporting the association’s nonprofit programs, advocacy work, and scientific communication. AAAS members and donors allow us to serve as a voice and force for science worldwide, helping us to advance science in service to society.
— Gerald R. Fink and Rush D. Holt
Board of Directors 2015
Gerald R. Fink
University of Oregon
Barbara A. Schaal
Washington University in St. Louis
David Evans Shaw
Black Point Group
Chief Executive Officer
Rush D. Holt (2015)
Bonnie L. Bassler
May R. Berenbaum
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Carlos J. Bustamente
University of California, Berkeley
Stephen P.A. Fodor
Cellular Research, Inc.
Claire M. Fraser
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Michael S. Gazzaniga
University of California, Santa Barbara
Laura H. Greene
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory/Florida State University
University of California, Irvine
University of Chicago
Rush D. Holt
Chief Operating Officer
Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs
Edward Derrick, Chief Program Director
Rob Covey, Chief Digital Media Officer
Education and Human Resources Programs
Shirley M. Malcom, Director
Andrew Black, Chief of Staff
Beth Rosner, Senior Advisor
Colleen Struss, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Legal Officer
Joanne Carney, Director
Patricia Sias, Director
Michael Savelli, Chief Technology Officer
International and Security Affairs
Tom Wang, Chief International Officer and Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy
Elise Swinehart, Director
Membership Development and Engagement
Beth Bush, Chief Membership Officer
New Business Innovations and Trellis
Josh Freeman, Senior Advisor and Founding General Manager, Trellis
Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships
Juli Staiano, Chief Philanthropy Officer
Ginger Pinholster, Chief Communications Officer
Bill Moran, Interim Publisher
Jo Ellen Roseman, Director
Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief
Monica Bradford, Executive Editor
Tim Appenzeller, News Editor
American Association for the Advancement of Science
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Dates: 16-20 February 2017
Location: Boston, Mass
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