About the Roundtable

The Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences (PILS) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was a multidisciplinary forum that ran from 2013 to 2015. The PILS Roundtable is no longer active, but many of the discussions initiated during its workshops have continued in independent venues within and outside of the NASEM.

This website is no longer regularly updated.

Please visit National Academies Press website for the most recent NASEM reports and workshop summaries on public engagement and science communication.

The PILS roundtable was a forum to facilitate on-going discussion and information exchange among life scientists engaged in research, social scientists who study science communication, and professional communication practitioners.  Members of the Roundtable included leaders in government, industry, academia, and non-profit organizations involved in life science outreach.  The Roundtable provided leadership to the life science community by raising awareness about the importance of public interfaces; building a community of practice through convening conversations and encouraging networks among life scientists, communication scientists, informal education experts, and science communicators; and developing partnerships, consensus study ideas, and other initiatives among members and their institutions to improve public interfaces for current and emerging life science issues.

The PILS Roundtable monitored and sought to understand the interfaces between different life science communities and public audiences for topics that may spark public concerns, generate policy debates, or influence market dynamics.  Our vision is for life scientists to understand the dynamics of public interfaces, and have access to the knowledge and tools needed to develop proactive, collaborative, science-based approaches to public interfaces about current and emerging topics in the life sciences.

The PILS Statement of Task describes the full scope of work.

The two main convening activities of the Roundtable were:

(1) Public workshops that address in depth the public interfaces of highly salient life science topics or interface challenges that span multiple scientific disciplines

(2) Panel discussions, arranged by request, that address communication and engagement questions, challenges, or opportunities for select life science topics.

The Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences was led by the Division of Earth and Life Studies (DELS), and involved the Board on Life Sciences of DELS, and the Board on Science Education of the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.