We will build a better understanding of the role of public engagement with science (PES) within the 28 sites of the LTER Network by collecting survey and interview data from LTER scientists, leaders, and staff about how they consider PES, including views about PES strategy, reciprocal exchanges, and community relationships. We will co-design our survey with a PES Working Group of LTER scientists, site leaders, and staff, building from prior research.

The vision of this work is to set up an ongoing cycle within these organizations of systematically tracking how internal actors are thinking about PES. The expectation is that such information will be useful to the science communication and informal STEM learning fields to better understand PES, and also will be useful to the leaders of these STEM research programs for identifying paths forward for improving PES practice. Co-developing our survey with LTER scientists is a key step toward that vision.

To enhance research-practitioner learning, data from the first round of surveys will feedback into APEAL case studies and into collaborative discussions about PES development in the PES Working Group. The second round of data collection is planned for year three and will include additional questions co-designed by the PES Working Group.