Argonne National Laboratory is home to the PAST, Public Affairs Science and Technology Fusion Cell for Emergency and Risk Communication Management. The deep experience and comprehensive outreach in the Past Fusion Cell yields a training curriculum to the PAST Fusion Cell Academy and provides planning and preparation for exercise simulations to test and refine the skills of public safety, Public Information Officers, Public Affairs Officers and External Affairs Officers. Studies consistently show that public affairs is much more than media relations; by taking a holistic approach to public affairs, our mission…”Learn from the PAST, Prepare for the future.”

About PAST

The Public Affairs Science and Technology (PAST) Fusion Cell is a leading research, training and exercise group at Argonne National Laboratory. We are committed to developing innovative tools, effective resource products, dynamic workshops, and challenging and realistic exercises for the public affairs community. Our intent is to:

☐ Monitor, observe and conduct research on real-world crises and events;
☐ Partner with all tiers of government to identify more effective methods of communication;
☐ Identify gaps and establish public affairs best practices for emergency management; and
☐ Apply the science of communication to maximize the efficacy of critical messaging.

Vision and Mission

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving arena of public affairs, traditional data collection and statistical analysis are not enough. To meet demanding communication needs, public information officers must employ the full suite of advanced social and computational science tools to make the best real-world public affairs decisions. While countless white papers, case studies, surveys, and evaluations have been produced to answer communications questions related to emergency messaging and public information, there is no single, established venue for scientists and practitioners to come together to bridge the gap between social science and public affairs practice. The Public Affairs Science and Technology (PAST) Fusion Cell Academy draws forward-thinking emergency management public affairs professionals from across the nation and eventually, across the globe. The PAST Fusion Cell at Argonne National Laboratory which fuels the intellectual power of the PAST Fusion Cell Academy is a first-of-its-kind, aimed at improving all aspects of public affairs and communication pertaining to emergency management.

We will:

  • Apply social science to the practice of risk and crisis communications to maximize effectiveness of critical messaging
  • Identify training gaps and establish best practices for public affairs

The PAST Fusion Cell and its Academy provides a natural venue for teams of world-class social scientists to work alongside public safety professionals to address some of the most significant communication challenges our nation and the world face today.