The Elite 8: SciPol Groups Building Bonds Between Scientists, the Public and Policymakers

At the 2nd National Science Policy Symposium the most recent awardees of the Microgrant Initiative were announced.The Microgrant Initiative provides seed funding to NSPN Chapters to catalyze new science policy initiatives at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Here are the eight winning teams and what they aim to achieve:

Stanford Science Policy Group (SSPG) - Science Policy off the Farm

SSPG will host a series of workshops in spring 2020 aimed at educating early-career scientists on the basics of science policy, science communication using various media platforms, and policy writing for general audiences. Workshop attendees will learn skills including scientific storytelling and graphic design and will formulate materials for disseminating information, such as a policy memo or infographic.

Arizona Science Policy Network - 2020 Science Day at the Capitol

The Arizona Science Policy Network will put on a Science Day at the Arizona State Capitol - an event where early-career scientists, policymakers, and community leaders will gather to build relationships. The event provides an opportunity for early-career scientists to meet with policymakers and implement their science communication skills through meetings with legislators and staff. In addition, early career scientists will experience the day to day of policymakers and community leaders through observing and participating in public meetings. Conversely, the event provides an opportunity for policymakers to build relationships with local scientists who have expertise in issues relevant to their communities.

Penn Science Policy and Diplomacy Group (PSPDG) - Science Diplomacy Education and Application Series

PSPDG will produce a three part program focused on training early-career scientists in science diplomacy. The program begins with a series of workshops and seminars on science diplomacy, which will educate participants in the basics of science diplomacy. Participants will then practice their skills in a mock global negotiation theme around climate change. Finally, the participants will utilize their skills in a trip to the 2020 United Nations Science, Technology, and Innovation Forum.

Catalysts for Science Policy (CaSP) - In a Perfect Policy Podcast

CaSP has started a new monthly podcast series where members will conduct interviews with topical experts on current policy issues. Each episode centers around the following question asked to the experts: “If you had a magic wand, what policy would you enact for this issue?” Each episode will also feature a member of NSPN for their comments and opinions on the given issue. The podcast will be available online, but will also be broadcast over a local radio station in Madison.

Science Policy and Advocacy at Rutgers (SPAR) - Building Bridges to NJ Communities Through Science Policy

SPAR will be engaging in a four part advocacy project focusing on local issues in Newark and New Brunswick related to water quality, drug discovery, and sustainability. Members of SPAR will first work on information gathering through meta-reviews as part of the NSPN 2020 Election Initiative. Using the information gathered, the organization will author white papers and op-eds and will perform advocacy at the New Jersey State Capitol. The organization will also engage with the public at the annual Rutgers Day Fair.

CWRU Science and Human Rights Coalition - Workshop on Science Policy and the Right to Science

CWRU Science and Human Rights Coalition will be hosting a workshop detailing and discussing the human right to science as outlined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The workshop will teach scientists how to incorporate the right to science in advocacy to the public and policymakers. The group will collaborate with other institutions in Northeast Ohio to form a diverse and inclusive coalition that will meet with Ohio lawmakers at the Statehouse in April 2020.

The Science Policy Initiative @ Notre Dame (SPI@ND) - Building Support for a State Science Policy Fellowship in Indiana

SPI@ND will work towards the creation of a state-level science policy fellowship in Indiana, similar to the federal-level and other state-level fellowship that have placed STEM PhD graduates in government positions. SPI@ND will leverage their network of science policy groups in Indiana to strengthen support and advocate for a state-level science policy fellowship by building relationships with state policymakers and other key stakeholders across the state.

The Science Policy Group at UCSF - Scientists in Sacramento

The Science Policy Group at UCSF will create a powerful new group of scientist-advocates to effectively communicate with policymakers at the California State Capitol. Bridging the gap between scientists and policymakers, this group will first train flourishing advocates through a series of three workshops. These three events will ensure trainees are knowledgeable about the state legislative process in California, competent in creating policy explainers, and are able to effectively communicate their message with elevator pitches. In working towards these three learning objectives, Science Policy Group at UCSF will work with expert policy and communications speakers at their university.


Congratulations to all the winners. If you are interested in following along with the microgrant winners, check out #micrograntMonday posts from the @SciPolNetwork Twitter account!


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