Science, the Public and Public Policy

Puttin’ the Public to Work – Community Science Around the World!  Collaborations between scientists and the public  have influenced a wide range of projects around the world from the designation of marine parks in Australia, to providing important local measurements related to climate through daily measurements of precipitation in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. How might digital technology in particular further support citizen science projects around the world?

Influencing Local and Regional Public Policy on Climate Change.  The overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that climate change is not only happening, but it is already here. While more global questions about how to address the factors contributing to climate change are important, many believe that the cutting edge of both climate research and climate policy has to do with understanding, adjusting to, and even mitigating the regional and local effects of climate change by affecting public policy. How can science and scientists become more directly involved  in the process of influencing public policy with respect to climate change?

The Social, Economic and Political Impacts of Climate Change.  Much of the conversation surrounding climate change, to date, has focused on "hard science” measures like the abundance of greenhouse gases, global changes in air and sea temperatures, rates of polar ice melting, increased intensity of storms, and expected the global rise in sea levels. With climate change now largely regarded as an established fact, attention has begun to turn to what might be considered more local and ’softer science’ influences on the social, economic and political fabric of society.  How will these concerns and issues likely influence the discussion on overall climate policy?

Citizen Science, Climate Change and Fire in Western North America.  How might citizen scientists and the local data they collect become part of the fabric of the larger discussion on climate change and how to respond to it?

Advancing STEM: Increasing Diversity in Academia and Industry.  Diverse communities create a more satisfying and productive learning and working environment. Despite the repeatedly reported research finding, and acknowledgement of the value of diversity in the mission statements of many science-related organizations, increasing STEM workforce diversity continues to be a challenging goal for academia and industry alike. What are the persisting challenges to increasing diversity in STEM and what could be done about them?