CPAS was launched in 1996. Although it was an initiative of the present Director, Dr Sue Stocklmayer, the first Director was Emeritus Professor Chris Bryant. This was a pragmatic decision as Dr Stocklmayer was a very new appointment to ANU and it was felt that Professor Bryant, with nearly forty years of experience of the ways of the University, should 'mind the shop' until Dr Stocklmayer had acquired some experience. The hand-over happened in 1998.
CPAS is currently training a new generation of highly qualified scientists to become skilled communicators who can engage people with the science, technology, or medical information that is most relevant to them. Postgraduate students at CPAS are currently researching new ways to excite the imagination of the public about science and to encourage informed decisions about scientific issues that will concern us in the 21st century.