COPUS is constantly evolving to serve the needs of our community.
The concept of COPUS originated in 2006 from a growing concern about the state of science in America. A small but diverse group of people came together to discuss strategies for addressing these concerns and for re-engaging the public in science. A workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and hosted by the University of California Museum of Paleontology, was held in Berkeley, CA, January 25-27, 2006 to initiate discussions on the creation of a national effort that would focus on improving the public understanding of and engagement in science.
Phase II – Developing our identity
Over a 2-year period, COPUS remained grassroots in nature by choice, and continued to attract like-minded individuals and organizations interested in sharing ideas focusing on public engagement in science. A website was launched that provided organizations the opportunity to register as a participant in COPUS resulting in the formal recognition of the COPUS network.
Phase III – The Year of Science 2009
In order to increase interest in the concept of COPUS, to provide a rallying point for its participants, and to celebrate science, COPUS initiated the highly successful Year of Science 2009. YoS09 was a national, year-long, grassroots celebration of science shining the spotlight on “How We Know What We Know.” Activities and events were led by a wide variety of scientific organizations under the umbrella of COPUS. Each month, we focused on a particular disciplinary theme of science, launching a dynamic and interactive website and hosting a variety of national contests and activities. The content for the Year of Science Web site was assembled through contributions from 90 representative organizations from the scientific community. This year truly pulled together diverse organizations to celebrate what science is, why it matters, and who scientists are. Support for YoS09 came from a variety of sponsors, in particular The Whitman Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with in-kind support from the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the University of California Museum of Paleontology.
A summary of the Year of Science 2009
Phase IV – Solidifying the Network
With funding from The Whitman Institute, a meeting of a core group of highly active COPUS individuals took place in Berkeley, CA in March 2010. The group decided that continued meetings would help solidify ongoing efforts, share best-practices, and grow our network.
Highly active members of COPUS formed the “COPUS Core.” Planning eventually lead to annual invitational meetings — the COPUS Un-Conference — each year attended by a mix of the COPUS Core and newly invited participants. Diversity (in background, efforts, and mindsets) has remained extremely important as we continue to innovate and evolve. COPUS has now developed into a network of peers that build community for science through promoting dialogue, building connections, and sharing ideas and resources.
2011 – Biosphere, Arizona (creation of the Paul Shin Award, creation of the COPUS Corps)
2013 – Asilomar, California
2014 – Sevilleta, New Mexico
2015 – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (creation of the Judy Scotchmoor Award)
2017 – Ixil, Mexico
2018 – Flathead Lake, Montana
2019 – Atlanta, Georgia
Would you like to attend an upcoming Un-Conference? The first step is to engage with our community through our various social media outlets.