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The role of interface organizations in science communication and understanding



“Interface” organizations are groups created to foster the use of science in environmental policy, management, and education. Here we compare interface organizations that differ in spatial scale, modes of operation, and intended audience to illustrate their diversity and importance in promoting the application of science to environmental issues. There has been exciting recent growth in the nature and extent of activities by interface organizations and in new methods for science communication and engagement. These developments can help scientists – who face personal and institutional challenges when attempting to convey the results of their research to various audiences – interact with society on specific issues in specific places, and with a wide range of non-traditional audiences. The ongoing mission for these organizations should be to move beyond simply increasing awareness of environmental problems to the creation of solutions that result in genuine environmental improvements.

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