Science & Society

Aspen Institute President and CEO Dan Porterfield issued a statement on June 1 about the Institute’s work to build a free, just, and equitable society and to drive change on issues of racial equity and racial justice.

Scientific research and innovation are principally responsible for decades of economic growth, medical advances, and enhanced national security. Yet, society has failed to elevate these contributions—through education, communication, and access—in order to build public appreciation for science:

  • Scientific expertise is being challenged, and consensus on topics from climate change to vaccine safety is no longer assumed to be valid.
  • Political leaders are increasingly willing to distort research findings, target scientists for ideological reasons, and compromise scientific integrity in favor of special interests.
  • Institutional leadership has failed to support diversity in the STEM workforce and emphasize mastery of 21st-century STEM skills within underserved communities, limiting the available talent pool.

Launched in 2019, The Aspen Institute Science & Society Program seeks to reverse these trends. Our mission is to generate greater public appreciation for science as a vital tool to address global challenges, as well as foster a diverse scientific workforce whose contributions extend beyond the laboratory. To achieve these goals, we convene experts and thought leaders in solutions-oriented strategy sessions, mobilize a vocal and diverse constituency of science advocates, and implement significant outreach efforts.

The Science & Society Program is housed within the Aspen Institute Health, Medicine and Society Program.

Support for the Science & Society Program comes from Johnson & Johnson; the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; the New York Community Trust–Wallace Special Projects Fund; the Rita Allen Foundation; the Irma L. and Abram S. Croll Charitable Trust; Natália Pasternak Taschner, Ph.D., Question of Science Institute, Brazil; Rick Stamberger; and the Paul Beirne Foundation.