Our Mission

The Science Ambassadors Program connects research experts to community stakeholders to help inform community decision making.

From aging infrastructure and pollution, to human health and equity, our society faces a host of challenging issues with science and engineering at their core. The choices we make every day to address these issues affect us all and have complex implications for the economy, the environment, and society.

Many experts in the Pittsburgh region are working on solutions — in academia, national research laboratories, industry, and nonprofits. But their knowledge is not always available, or easy to understand and use. This is where we step in. The Science Ambassadors Program helps leverage this expertise in the service of the community.

How we work:

Our process starts with listening:

  • We meet with local decision makers to understand the key community issues and concerns, and where science and engineering knowledge can help inform choices.

  • We tap into our network of local and national experts to find the people with relevant knowledge who can help. Whether in academia, national research labs, industry, government, or nonprofits, these are leaders in their field developing the solutions of tomorrow.

  • We enable our experts to translate their knowledge in a way that is easy to understand and use. We offer science communication training and individual coaching to help bridge the conversation gap between researchers and the public.

  • We bring together experts and community stakeholders. From conferences and workshops to small-group discussions, we create forums for dialogue and consensus building that are based in the best available information.

From our roots as a pilot program of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, we carry on the commitment to objective, nonpartisan advice that is grounded in rigorous science.

Participants tell us that..
… they value access to “extremely knowledgeable speakers
… participating has broadened their perspective
“I now understand more about the trade-offs involved”
“There are many more choices to be made going forward than I realized”
… they find the community coming together and “seeing group consensus develop after dialogue” deeply meaningful
Take a look at how you can get involved, or read more about our Ambassadors and events.

Issues we focus on:

Energy: Modernizing our aging energy system is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing our nation. How successfully we navigate this transition will have powerful implications for our environment, health, economy, security, and energy independence.

The Pittsburgh region is committed to being a leader in energy issues. With its world-class universities and federal research labs, as well as its strong partnerships between the public, private, and foundation sectors, Pittsburgh is well positioned to become a hub of innovation and test-bed for tomorrow’s energy solutions.

At the Science Ambassadors Program we have made energy our current focus to support Pittsburgh’s efforts at this critical and exciting time. However, we are passionate about any societal concern that intersects with science and engineering. Check out our past events to see what’s possible, and see how you can get involved.