- Who and what is COPUS?
- What are the objectives of COPUS?
- Why is COPUS needed now?
- How is COPUS different from other efforts to promote the public understanding of science?
- How did COPUS get started?
- What scientific disciplines are represented in COPUS?
- What is the geographic scope of COPUS?
The COPUS Network Participants
- What organizations are participating in the COPUS network and how can my organization become involved?
- What are the advantages of joining COPUS?
- Does it cost money for an organization to join COPUS?
- What are the expectations of participants in COPUS?
COPUS Time Table
- When will COPUS activities take place in my area?
- How long will COPUS last?
- What are the sources of funding for COPUS?
- Does COPUS have private-sector funders or partners?
- Who is leading and guiding the COPUS project?
- Does the COPUS project accept financial or in-kind donations?
COPUS Programs, Events, and Resources
- What types of programs and events have participating organizations registered with COPUS?
- Does COPUS have any suggested activities for organizations that need ideas?
- How can participating organizations promote their activities?
- Do activities have to be approved before posting on the COPUS website?
- What other resources will COPUS provide?
Year of Science 2009
- What is the Year of Science 2009?
- How is the Year of Science 2009 related to COPUS?
- Why are you waiting until 2009 to celebrate the Year of Science?
COPUS Regional Hubs
- What is a regional hub?
- How do I join or start a regional hub?
- What does COPUS offer to educators and students?
- What does COPUS offer to scientists?
- How will COPUS reach underserved populations?
- How will COPUS engage the public at large?
Who and what is COPUS?
The Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) is a grassroots effort linking universities, scientific societies, science centers and museums, advocacy groups, media, educators, businesses, and industry in a peer network having as its goal a greater public understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. This is an essential step in re-establishing the nation’s role in the global scientific enterprise. It is critical to ensuring the long-term social well-being of the American people.
Learn more about COPUS.
For all inquiries, please contact:
COPUS in DC
1444 I Street, NW - Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
COPUS Network Project Manager
What are the objectives of COPUS?
Develop a shared appreciation of science, its contributions to the quality of life, and its underlying role in advances in technology and engineering
Inform and engage the public in and about science, its process and products - how it is done, how scientific issues can best be framed and communicated, what roles science and scientists play in society, the benefits of using the process of science to make informed decisions and address challenges
Make science more accessible to everyone
Why is COPUS needed now?
A recent National Science Board poll reports that two-thirds of Americans do not understand what science is, how it is conducted, and what one can expect from it
A recent Gallup poll reports widespread and increasingly prevalent belief in pseudoscience
There is a growing public complacency about and disengagement from science at the very moment when the impact of science on public life is greater than ever
The Business Roundtable of major U.S. companies notes that the scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength. A general public with an understanding and appreciation of the nature of science is a prerequisite for a skilled workforce able to compete in a knowledge-based global economy
How is COPUS different from other efforts to promote the public understanding of science?
COPUS is a national coalition—a peer network—that facilitates communication and collaboration among a diverse audience interested in science. Never before has there been such a concerted effort to engage so many disciplines of science, along with business, industry, and the humanities in a united effort to celebrate science and its discoveries and processes.
How did COPUS get started?
COPUS originated from a workshop funded by the National Science Foundation and convened by the University of California's Museum of Paleontology, in Berkeley, CA, 25-27 January 2006.
What scientific disciplines are represented in COPUS?
All of them! From astronomy to zoology, COPUS encourages all scientific disciplines to participate.
What is the geographic scope of COPUS?
While COPUS is, at this time, localized to the US, we are excited to hear about and share what others in the world are doing to celebrate and promote the public understanding of science. We invite you to share information about your organization's efforts by sending an email to , so that we may list it on our international recognition page.
The COPUS Network Participants
What organizations are participating in the COPUS network and how can my organization become involved?
The Coalition invites the participation of any organization that has an interest in promoting the public understanding of science as an intellectual and social endeavor by which humans learn about the natural, physical world through empirically-based observations, testing, and prediction. The Coalition membership already has a broad spectrum of participants including large scientific societies, small for-profit organizations, museums, and educational organizations as well as dance troupes and local government agencies. There are more organizations joining the Coalition every day—see the up-to-date list of members. Applying to join COPUS is easy, just complete the online registration form; your organization's application will be reviewed by the COPUS Steering Committee and you will be contacted regarding next steps.
What are the advantages of joining COPUS?
There are many advantages for an organization to become a part of the COPUS network, including:
Participation in a national effort to promote the public understanding of science in a year-long celebration: Year of Science 2009.
Your organization's activities highlighted on the COPUS website in a format for public searching and browsing, plus push technology including RSS newsfeeds.
Access to COPUS communication resources and network, including an online national database of events and programs (now available), plus an online collaboration site, called the COPUS Commons (coming soon), where participants can engage in group discussions with each other and the COPUS organizers, share successes and best practices, and break off into smaller groups for special projects, regional hubs, etc.
Receipt of COPUS email alerts and newsletter.
A role in growing the COPUS community, providing input on COPUS direction and activities.
Does it cost money for an organization to join COPUS?
There is no charge to become part of the COPUS Coalition.
What are the expectations of participants in COPUS?
Coalition members are expected to:
- Support the development of regional coalitions and partnerships in their area.
- Work with others in the coalition network to develop activities and programs in support of Year of Science 2009.
- Share best practices and evaluation data with the rest of the COPUS network.
- Work with the COPUS network to develop common messages and themes.
- Promote and embrace the full spectrum of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as critical to our societal well-being.
COPUS Time Table
When will COPUS activities take place in my area?
To learn about activities in your area, search the national event and program directory or contact the participating organization directly. There is also an RSS feed available to keep up to date with new event postings in your area.
How long will COPUS last?
Although the Year of Science 2009 is a one-year concentrated celebration of science, the COPUS network is operational now and is intended to continue operating indefinitely.
What are the sources of funding for COPUS?
Support for COPUS planning workshops was provided by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. EAR-0606600 and EAR-0628790 to the University of California Museum of Paleontology. The cognizant fiduciary body for COPUS and the Year of Science 2009 project is the American Institute of Biological Sciences Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which is providing staffing support, IT, and other resources. The Geological Society of America, the University of California Museum of Paleontology, and the National Science Teachers Association are also contributing funds for COPUS and Year of Science 2009. The Steering Committee welcomes support from additional scientific organizations and is also pursuing funding from federal agencies and private foundations.
Does COPUS have private-sector funders or partners?
We invite corporate sponsorship and participation from the private sector. Contact Sheri Potter, email@example.com
Who is leading and guiding the COPUS project?
The COPUS project is led by its Steering Committee, whose members are:
Lee Allison, Director, Arizona Geological Survey
Jack Hehn, Director of Education, American Institute of Physics
Jack Hess, Executive Director, Geological Society of America
Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communications, National Academy of Sciences
Richard O’Grady, Executive Director, American Institute of Biological Sciences
Judy Scotchmoor, Assistant Director, University of California, Museum of Paleontology, Education and Public Programs
Additional organizers of Year of Science 2009 are:
Kent E. Holsinger, AIBS Past President, University of Connecticut
Barbara Kline Pope, Executive Director for Communications and the National Academies Press, The National Academies
Gerald F. Wheeler, Executive Director, National Science Teachers Association
Does the COPUS project accept financial or in-kind donations?
Donations of all kinds are appreciated and will help further the goals of the COPUS mission. Financial contributions can be made online or via check. COPUS funds are administered by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To discuss in-kind contributions, please contact Sheri Potter, firstname.lastname@example.org.
COPUS Programs, Events, and Resources
What types of programs and events have participating organizations registered with COPUS?
The programs and events registered in the COPUS program and event database are diverse. Listings range from educational programs, websites, field trips, and public dialogues and presentations to dance productions and art exhibits. The common denominator of the activities is that they encourage a greater public understanding of and engagement in science.
Does COPUS have any suggested activities for organizations that need ideas?
Yes! The COPUS website has a list of suggested activities for 2009. If you would like to see what others are doing you can search the COPUS program and event database, view the featured programs on the home page; plus soon you'll be able to check out what is being discussed in the COPUS Commons, an online collaboration section of the website that we're building for participating organizations.
How can participating organizations promote their activities?
Participating organizations promote their activities by registering their programs and events in the network database for viewing by the rest of the network as well as by the public.
Do activities have to be approved before posting on the COPUS website?
Only participants in COPUS are permitted to enter events or programs. They can submit any activities that support the public understanding of science. Activities are reviewed by the site administrator prior to posting to the publicly accessible section of the website.
What other resources will COPUS provide?
COPUS will promote and link with a new web resource, Understanding Science, being developed at the University of California Museum of Paleontology and set to launch later in 2007. The website will support K-16 science teaching with a conceptual framework for teaching the nature of science at all grade spans, a searchable database of vetted teaching resources, and strategies for integrating and reinforcing the nature of science within content areas mandated by state and national science standards.
Year of Science 2009
What is the Year of Science 2009?
The Year of Science 2009 is a national year-long celebration of science to engage the public in science and improve public understanding about the nature and processes of science.
How is the Year of Science 2009 related to COPUS?
Participants in the COPUS Coalition are the leaders in the celebration of 2009 as the Year of Science. They are already making plans for how they will engage the members of their communities in conversations about the joy of scientific processes and discovery!
Why are you waiting until 2009 to celebrate the Year of Science?
COPUS has chosen 2009 to celebrate the Year of Science because 2009 marks the anniversary of a number of very important events in the development of science, including the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species and the 200th anniversary of the birth of its author, Charles Darwin; the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, founder of the National Academy of Sciences; and the 400th anniversary of the publication of Johannes Kepler's first two Laws of Planetary Motion.
COPUS Regional Hubs
What is a regional hub?
It is a locally-based community of COPUS participants and science stakeholders that work together within a designated geographic region to promote the public understanding of science. Its members are self-determined and can include scientists, universities, K-16 educators, informal science education centers, business leaders, and other professionals who work together to develop or coordinate activities that engage community members in science. Its activities are self-determined, but have as their focus the public understanding of and engagement in science. A single COPUS participating organization should serve as the 'host' of the hub and as the liaison to the COPUS network. Learn more about the responsibilities and benefits of forming a COPUS regional hub.
How do I join or start a regional hub?
There are many locations across the country where regional hubs are forming. To find out how to join or initiate a regional hub in your area contact Sheri Potter at .
What does COPUS offer to educators and students?
COPUS offers educators the opportunity to participate in a national Coalition and partner with scientists and their affiliated institutions on projects for their classroom.
Currently registered programs in the COPUS database include professional development workshops for science educators, web-based education resources, and numerous local events that teachers can incorporate into their lesson plans.
What does COPUS offer to scientists?
COPUS offers scientists an opportunity to fulfill an important responsibility to communicate the benefits and outcomes of their research to the tax-paying public who largely funds their work, to reach out and inspire the next generation of scientists, and to improve the general awareness of and appreciation for the role science plays in American society
Further, COPUS offers an unprecedented opportunity for scientists to network and engage more non-traditional partners in the scientific enterprise, perhaps leading to future interdisciplinary collaborations.
How will COPUS reach underserved populations?
COPUS encourages the participation of all members of society in a unified effort to promote the public understanding of science. COPUS particularly welcomes the participation of organizations and institutions that represent populations who have traditionally been underrepresented in the sciences. Key partnerships are in the process of being formed. The COPUS Steering Committee has already extended invitations to many organizations active in these areas, and we encourage all COPUS participating organizations not only to register their relevant events and programs in the COPUS public database, but to check that database for ideas on what other members of the coalition are doing and what opportunities for collaboration there might be.
How will COPUS engage the public at large?
The Coalition will reach the public at large primarily through the public programs organized by its participants. COPUS's online national database of events and programs is accessible to the public for browsing as well as searching by criteria including topic, audience-level, resource type, date and location.
Activities celebrating the Year of Science 2009 will specifically target the at-large public in order to improve understanding about the nature and processes of science.