The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) is a grassroots network that connects individuals who are passionate about advancing the public understanding of science. In existence since 2006 and responsible for the highly successful Year of Science 2009, COPUS is now focusing on expanding its community for science by promoting dialogue, building connections, and sharing ideas and resources.
The Coalition leadership team (the COPUS Core) is holding a science communication and networking "un-conference" in spring of 2012. At this event, we will bring together an eclectic group of passionate people, who have identified novel and innovative ways to bring science to the public. The conference will follow a participant and engagement driven meeting format. Rather than having a top down organization, the event will be built on a flexible framework and designed from the bottom up. This gives everyone a personal role in the event and invests attendees in a way that will enhance and focus their contributions to the meeting as a whole. Approximately two-thirds of the conference schedule, including the conference themes, session types, and topics to be covered, will be developed by the participants prior to the event. By using web tools like wikis, attendees will sculpt a program that will cater to their needs and interests. The remaining one third of the time will be left as open space within the event program – to be filled by the spontaneous interests, topics, and ideas that emerge.
Though this is primarily an invitational event, there will be an open application process that will enable additional people to attend the meeting. Applications will be available in early 2012. The COPUS Invitational will take place March 16-18, 2012, at the BioSphere II facilities in Arizona.
UCMP is one of the founders of COPUS and Judy Scotchmoor serves as one of the project managers, along with Sheri Potter of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. We are extremely grateful to The Whitman Institute for their support of this conference.