ASTC is proud to launch a pilot fellowship program to nurture a corps of science engagement professionals to partner with a community organization to address community priorities related to science and technology. Ten Fellows, each based at an ASTC-member science and technology center or museum, will implement a Dialogue & Deliberation event in their community, alongside a community partner. The Fellows and their community partners will receive a stipend and funding to support their projects. This yearlong training program will allow Fellows to develop the necessary skills to work collaboratively with their community partners at the intersection of science, technology, society, and policy using the methods of Dialogue & Deliberation.

The application window has closed.

This program is a part of  ASTC’s Community Science Initiative, which aims to build the capacity of ASTC-member institutions to address community priorities through community science. This fellowship is supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

What is Dialogue & Deliberation?

Dialogue & Deliberation is a set of approaches that can help community members identify or refine priorities and make decisions about important issues. Dialogue allows people to share their perspectives on a topic, and deliberation provides an opportunity to examine options and make actionable decisions. These techniques are effective when applied to a wide range of topics that impact communities, including issues related to science and technology. Dialogue & Deliberation on science-related topics takes an expansive view to examine societal impacts, community values, and public policy decisions that can inform—and be informed by—science.

The goal of Dialogue & Deliberation events is to have the communities produce recommendations that are then acted upon by scientific experts, policymakers, and community members in collaboration with one another.

There are a variety of approaches to designing and implementing Dialogue & Deliberation events, and Fellows will be introduced to wide range of models. Some examples include:

Dialogue & Deliberation events are also rich and robust spaces for civic engagement around a variety of topics: the National Center for Dialogue & Deliberation outlines several here.

Members of the Canarsie ‘Blue, Green, and Everything in Between” Action Team Members of the Canarsie ‘Blue, Green, and Everything in Between” Action Team in Brooklyn, New York, present to fellow residents at the Cycles of Resilience “Action Forum,” created in partnership with Public Agenda. This event was held to build relationships between residents of the Canarsie neighborhood, scientists, and local government officials so that all parties could collaborate on planning efforts to mitigate local effects of climate change such as major storms, sea level rise, and biodiversity loss.

About the Fellowship Program

In the first phase of the program, Fellows and their home institutions will work to identify a community partner, which may be a community-based organization such as a neighborhood association, faith-based organization, or government agency. Fellows and their community partners will participate in a 12-month training program to develop the skills to work collaboratively and learn about the principles of Dialogue & Deliberation. During training, Fellows and community partners will learn skills for maintaining an equitable partnership, as well as key elements of dialogue-based programming like identifying a topic, designing community meetings, facilitating conversations, measuring the success of programs, and maintaining ongoing engagement.

In the second element, Fellows and their community partners will co-develop and host a Dialogue & Deliberation event that addresses a community priority at the intersection of science and society. Throughout this process, Fellows and their community partners will meet with the rest of the cohort to discuss their progress and challenges. After the event, Fellows and their community partners will reflect on the success of their program with help from a third-party evaluator who will assess the impact of their program and capture the lessons learned from it.

We held an informational webinar on August 19. View the recording above.

Who can apply? 

Staff at ASTC-member science and technology centers and museums in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are invited to apply to participate in this pilot Fellowship program. Applicants do not need to have previous experience with Dialogue & Deliberation approaches to Community Science but should be familiar with concepts of equity and inclusion. Individuals applying for this program should ensure that they have the support of their institution’s leadership, as some elements of the program will involve other staff at the institution.

Commitment and support 

Fellows will be notified of their acceptance on September 13 and will attend a full-day Preconference Intensive workshop (to be scheduled during September 28-30) at the ASTC Virtual 2021 Annual Conference. Fellows will meet once a month for half-day sessions through September 2022. The co-developed Dialogue & Deliberation events are expected to be held in late spring or summer of 2022.  

The Fellows’ institution will receive a stipend of $10,000 to support the Fellow’s time on this project. Additional funds will also be available to (1) provide a stipend for the community partner and (2) to support the execution of the event. If you are interested in applying for this Fellowship program, be sure to review the full program description and review the application questions. The application window closed on September 7, 2021.

Project contact 

If you have any questions about the ASTC Community Science Dialogue & Deliberation Fellowship, please email Naomi Wallace, Manager of Impact Initiatives.

Our partners

Support for this fellowship program is provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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