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Resource Guide > Policy & Government > Science Policy Advocates & Advisors

Science Policy Advocates & Advisors

Last Updated December 7, 2021

On this page, you'll find a non-exhaustive list of organizations that advocate for science-friendly policies, or provide advice to policymakers on key scientific topics.

Engineers and Scientists Acting Locally

About: “ESAL is a national organization dedicated to increasing local engagement by professionals with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Many engineers and scientists are interested in making a difference in their communities, but they don’t know how to get involved or overlook the important role that cities, counties, and states play in policy development and implementation. We hope to encourage and help STEM professionals to meaningfully engage with their local government and with community-oriented non-profit and volunteer organizations by sharing stories of how others have made a difference in their communities.”

American Academy of Arts and Sciences

About: “The Academy is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges.” And “The Academy's elected members join with other experts in cross-disciplinary efforts to produce reflective, independent, and pragmatic studies that inform public policy and advance the public good.”

American Association for the Advancement of Science

About: “The AAAS seeks to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people." The world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals, AAAS has individual members in more than 91 countries around the globe. Membership is open to anyone who shares our goals and belief that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can help solve many of the challenges the world faces today.”

More: AAAS work involves science education (Project 2061) and public understanding and engagement with science (Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science).

National Academies of Science, Engineering, & Medicine

About: “The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide independent, objective advice to inform policy with evidence, spark progress and innovation, and confront challenging issues for the benefit of society. The work of the private, nonprofit National Academies is grounded in the expertise of our three honorific societies — the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Most of this work is conducted through seven major program areas of the National Academies.”

More: A NASEM committee wrote the 2016 examination of Science Literacy that reviewed the history of the term, how it has traditionally been used, and proposed new ways of conceiving of science literacy (community approach, in particular).

Union of Concerned Scientists

About: “The Union of Concerned Scientists is a national nonprofit organization founded more than 50 years ago by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Our mission: to use rigorous, independent science to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. Today, we are a group of nearly 250 scientists, analysts, policy and communication experts dedicated to that purpose.”

Science Debate

About: “Science Debate asks candidates, elected officials, the public and the media to focus more on science policy issues of vital importance to modern life. As a registered 501(c)(3), Science Debate is nonpartisan. We encourage everyone to ask their candidates to discuss and debate their science and technology policies for the well-being of our nation and society. All donations are tax-deductible.”

Scientist Action and Advocacy Network

About: “Our members are doctoral students, PhD-holding research scientists, and professors who donate their skilled labor and expertise to our partner organizations. We compile brief, targeted literature reviews, and analyze pre-existing data. We can also serve as guides to particular domains of scientific knowledge. Our current partners include the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, BagItNYC, Raise the Age New York, and Solitary Watch. In partnership with organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Society for Neuroscience, our members have lobbied our elected officials to support evidence-based policies and scientific discovery. We also promote candidates with pro-science platforms.”

Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group

About: “The Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group (JHSPG) is comprised of members of the Johns Hopkins University research and medical communities. We advocate for evidence-based policies that advance science and safeguard public health. Find out how you can help.”

Federation of American Scientists

About: “The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) provides science-based analysis of and solutions to protect against catastrophic threats to national and international security. Specifically, FAS works to reduce the spread and number of nuclear weapons, prevent nuclear and radiological terrorism, promote high standards for nuclear energy’s safety and security, illuminate government secrecy practices, as well as prevent the use of biological and chemical weapons. Founded in November 1945, as the Federation of Atomic Scientists, by scientists who built the first atomic bombs during the Manhattan Project, FAS is devoted to the belief that scientists, engineers, and other technically trained people have the ethical obligation to ensure that the technological fruits of their intellect and labor are applied to the benefit of humankind. In early 1946, FAS rebranded as the Federation of American Scientists to broaden its network of supporters to include all caring citizens like you who want to reduce the risks to humanity from global catastrophes.”

NASEM Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy

About: “The Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP) advises federal, state, and local governments and informs the public about economic and related public policies to promote the creation, diffusion, and application of new scientific and technical knowledge to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the U.S. economy and foster economic prosperity for all Americans.”

NASEM Committee on Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Policy

About: “COSEMPUP conducts studies on cross-cutting issues in science and technology policy. It was chartered by the Academies to address "the concerns and requests of the President's Science Advisor, the Director of the National Science Foundation, the Chair of the National Science Board, and heads of other federal research and development departments and agencies, and the Chairs of key science and technology-related committees of the Congress." It also monitors key developments in U.S. science and technology policy for the Academies' leadership.”

Association for Women in STEM

About: “AWIS works at the nexus of STEM and gender to provide high-quality policy solutions and recommendations for broadening participation across all disciplines and employment sectors; AWIS helps women in STEM achieve their full potential through leadership and professional talent development at all career stages and in all workplace settings; AWIS provides research and analysis on contemporary issues relevant to America’s STEM enterprise. Thoughtful leadership includes workforce recruitment, retention, and recognition; AWIS is your partner. We support corporate transformation to cultivate supportive and inclusive work cultures that help attract and retain top talent.”

Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy

About: “The Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Coalition is an ad hoc alliance of organizations that have joined together to empower scientists and engineers to effectively engage in the policy making process at all levels of government (international, federal, state and local). ​ESEP serves as a resource one-stop-shop, a communication forum, networking opportunity and as an engagement vehicle for those interested or already engaged in science and technology policy including students, faculty members, industry scientists and engineers, policy fellows, young scholars and others.”

The Forum on Science and Ethics Policy

About: “FOSEP chapters are led by graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows from fields ranging from natural sciences and engineering to humanities, business, and education. Our primary mission is to promote civic dialogue about issues at the intersection of science and society across our campus and community. We believe that a better understanding of the 'big picture' about issues such as heath care, energy policy, and climate change, and talking with people outside of our own disciplines and outside of academia will help us to better connect our scholarly work with solutions to real-world problems.”

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