Peter Baume buiding

About the Centre

The Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science is the leading centre in Australia for research, education and practice in science communication and engagement. CPAS is a global leader in the field, with collaborations across our region and the world.

Based in the Australian National University (ANU) College of Science, CPAS was the first science communication centre in Australia and continues its mission to encourage a confident democratic ownership of science. It was one of the first globally to recognise the importance of communicating science in ways that engage public audiences, including with underserved communities and young people.

As science and its relationship to society is changing in unprecedented ways, CPAS is reimagining science communication for the 21st century. The Centre’s current work encompasses multiple sites of science engagement and science/society relations including:  

  • Emerging technologies, research systems and responsible innovation;
  • Science advice and the science/policy interface;
  • Public engagement around science and technology, and informal science learning;
  • Science in the media and popular culture.

CPAS research pays close attention to contextually-appropriate ways of creating, valuing and communicating knowledge in the face of growing complexity in science systems and in societal and global challenges. Our work connects strongly with current debates on transdisciplinary knowledge systems; controversial science and public trust; misinformation and disinformation; inclusive science communication; and inclusive innovation for sustainable development.

Across projects funded by research councils and other bodies, we are exploring the distinctive contribution science communication can – and should – play in addressing major challenges of environmental change, public health, new technologies in agriculture and biomedicine, climate and energy transitions, and biosecurity and defence.

CPAS researchers are also advancing scholarship on fundamental topics in the evolution of science communication as a field:

  • enhancing diversity and inclusion in science engagement; promoting ethics in science communication;
  • re-constituting the relationship between science and common good;
  • understanding the history of science communication; and
  • communicating the social sciences and their relationship to other forms of expertise.

We prize interdisciplinary collaboration, seeking to work with researchers, policymakers, and the wider community to ensure science and innovation serve society as a whole.

CPAS has extensive networks with learned academies, government agencies, creative industries, science centres, and academics across science, engineering, social science and humanities at the ANU and across the world.

The Centre hosts the ANU RI Lab (Responsible Innovation Lab), POPSICULE (Popular Culture and Entertainment Hub at the ANU) and the UNESCO Chair in Science Communication for the Public Good. CPAS researchers also contribute to flagship interdisciplinary research projects funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), the ARC Training Centre for Future Crops Development, the ARC Training Centre for Plant Biosecurity and the ARC Training Centre in Radiation Innovation.


Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of Reconciliation as a key underpinning value, the ANU supports and encourages staff and students in promoting Reconciliation. An Acknowledgement of Country is a means by which all people can show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and heritages and the ongoing connection and relationship with the land and sea. 

We, the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, acknowledge all First Peoples of this land and celebrate their enduring connections to Country, knowledge and stories. We pay our respects to Elders and Ancestors who watch over us and guide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.