Recent advances in life sciences—from vaccines to new medical devices, from biofuels to increased food production, to the protection of ecosystems–illustrate the importance of life sciences to the health and well-being of society and the environment. Although research shows that 80% of Americans have a moderate to strong interest in science, the current level of engagement between life scientists and various publics is not proportional either to the significance or speed of the advances.

Developing open communications with the public is even more important when you consider that many topics in the life sciences may raise political, economic, and moral issues that can challenge deeply held beliefs.  For example, the public holds wide range of views on genetically engineered foods, stem cell research, and synthetic biology.  Even advances in neuroscience might challenge what many of us think it means to be human.

Vision of the Roundtable

The vision of the Public Interfaces in the Life Sciences is for all scientists to have access to the knowledge and tools needed to develop pro-active, collaborative, science-based approaches to public communication about emerging topics in the life sciences.