A review of the literature There are many public awareness of science initiatives (PASIs) and they are diverse, taking many forms from countrywide science weeks to small meetings focussed on a single issue, or perhaps a dramatised event. These represent a major investment of resources – individuals and organisations give their time, their expertise or may give material or financial support — and this resource intensiveness often extends to the members of the public involved. This paper will consider the extent to which these initiatives have succeeded. Feedback of this kind is invaluable for all those involved (or interested in involvement) in such enterprises, whether with a one-off activity or a long-term program. So how much evaluation is taking place, and what patterns does it reveal of the success of these initiatives? Work with the European Network of Science Communication Teachers (ENSCOT) has enabled a review of published items and the evidence collected to help paint this picture for European Union countries. From these initial findings it appears that many PASIs are not formally written up and still fewer are evaluated against their aims. The evidence also suggests differences between countries. This paper considers how evaluation could be used by all stakeholders to improve future initiatives in Europe and potentially further afield
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