Following an at times impassioned debate about the best way to promote good practice in science communication in the UK, the three bodies that formed the Committee for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) — the Royal Society, the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Institution — have decided to disband COPUS as it is currently constituted.

COPUS was formed in 1985 in response to the perceived need for better communication of science. In recent years, as the emphasis has shifted from the idea of public understanding of science to one of engaging the public in scientific decision making, critics have suggested that COPUS is old fashioned in its approach.

In particular, Dame Bridget Ogilvie, former head of the Wellcome Trust and chair of COPUS until she resigned in June this year, wanted to see COPUS become an umbrella organization with a strategic overview of...

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