Archive for the ‘Science Policy’ Category
SciStarter is a proud founding partner of Expert & Citizen Assessment of Science & Technology (ECAST), a network that cordially invites you to the USA launch of the World Wide Views on Biodiversity project:
A distributed, agile, collaborative, and non-partisan 21st century approach that integrates citizen participation, deliberation, expertise, and assessment into government policy making, management, research, development, informal education, and dissemination at the national and international levels.
11AM – 2PM, Tuesday, June 5, 2012 (Lunch Provided)
Koshland Science Museum, 525 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
Introduction and Welcome – Darlene Cavalier, Science Cheerleader
From OTA to ECAST, a 21st Century Model for Technology Assessment – Richard Sclove, Loka Institute, invited
WWViews Process: From Global Warming to Biodiversity – Richard Worthington, Pomona College
CBD & COP 11: US Government Perspectives and Priorities – Barbara DeRosa-Joynt, US State Department, invited
Panel Discussion: Non Governmental Issues and Priorities – Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Americaspeaks, moderator
Real-time Deliberation on National Priority Questions for Biodiversity – Netra Chhetri, Arizona State University
Dissemination and Amplifications of the Results – David Sittenfeld, Museum of Science, Boston
Reflections from the Participants – Gretchen Gano, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Technology Assessment and Citizen Participation – Naba Barkakati, US Government Accountability Office
Results and Next Steps – Jeanne Troy, Koshland Science Museum
World Wide Views on Biodiversity
On Saturday September 15th, 2012, groups of one hundred ordinary citizens in Washington, Boston, Denver and Phoenix will join similar groups across the globe to learn about biodiversity issues, discuss important policy choices, make up their minds, and express their views. The citizen meetings will start at dawn in the Pacific and continue until dusk in the Americas. All meetings will have the same agenda and use the same approach in order to make results comparable and useful for policymakers who will gather the following month in India to discuss future measures for preserving biological diversity.
World Wide Views (WWViews) Alliance
The project is organized within the World Wide Views Alliance, consisting of national and supportive partners and is coordinated by the Danish Board of Technology, a non-profit and impartial parliamentary advisory board.
Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST) Network
ECAST is a national network of nonpartisan policy research institutions, universities, and science centers working together to conduct balanced technology assessments. Its mission is to support better-informed governmental and societal decisions on complex issues involving science and technology.
WWViews USA Alliance
Arizona Science Center; Colorado School of Mines; Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University; Denver Botanical Garden; Koshland Science Museum; Loka Institute; Museum of Science Boston; Science & Technology Innovation Program at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Science and Technology in Society Program at Virginia Tech; Science Cheerleader; Science, Technology and Society Initiative at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; and SciStarter.
Some of you expressed interest in viewing the slides I shared during a talk at the Microbe.net workshop at UC Davis.
The talk was designed to give an overview of citizen science projects and a peek at the opportunities and challenges ahead for people involved in the production of such projects. It also pointed towards the next, organic phase of citizen science in which participants actively shape policies.
Harnessing the power of citizen scientists (Darlene Cavalier. Science Progress. July 2008.)
Reinventing Technology Assessment in the 21st Century (Richard Sclove. Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. April 2010.)
Here’s your chance to help bring citizen science to the classroom — and win a little recognition in the process!
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is asking people to send in their best experiments for kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms. After you submit your experiments, a panel of classroom teachers, students, scientists, and NIH science education personnel will score all the entries and select winners. If you’re among the winning participants, you’ll earn recognition and an official, exclusive, electronic NIH Lab Challenge badge that you can display online.
The best part is that the experiments will be made available to the general public, so classrooms across the world can benefit from your ideas. To get started, take a look at our list of great citizen science projects.
Have you submitted anything to NIH Lab Challenge? Let us know your ideas in the comment section!
On Tuesday, July 26 at 9pm ET, The Weather Channel will air the “Changing Planet” Town Hall focused on clean energy and green jobs. Science for Citizens is a partner in this three-part series.
Here’s more information from NBC News:
This town hall broadcast is the second in a 3-part series that brings together scientists, thought leaders and students for a discussion on the issues of climate science.
The Weather Channel announced that it will air a “Changing Planet: Clean Energy, Green Jobs, and Global Competition” on Tuesday, July 26th at 9 PM/ET. NBC News Chief Environmental Affairs Correspondent Anne Thompson moderated the event, which was hosted by George Washington University. The town hall meeting is the second in a three-part series produced under a partnership between NBC Learn (the educational arm of NBC News), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Discover magazine.
The “Changing Planet” town hall series is intended to encourage student learning and to open a dialogue about climate change by gathering scientists, thought leaders, business people, and university students to discuss the facts of climate science, understand their implications, brainstorm solutions and even get involved in real research through citizen science projects on ScienceForCitizens.net.
“Today’s technology allows us to think about new energy options that impact the planet less and help the economy more,” said Thompson. “It is critical that we have these important discussions about how clean energy and the economy can go hand in hand, in order to bring the best solutions to the spotlight.”
This edition of “Changing Planet” brings together over 100 students and features four leading experts from the science and business communities: Chris Busch, Director of Policy and Program at Apollo Alliance; Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Chief Executive Officer of Green For All; Timothy Juliani, Director of Corporate Engagement at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change; and Ken Zweibel, Director at the GW Solar Institute.
Energy is a strange thing. It floats around you, fills you up until you’re about ready to burst, and then it skips off, leaving you to keep up as best you can. Last Thursday and Friday were two full days of such energy, when 60 professionals from such exotic places as Alaska, Colombia and New Jersey got together to discuss why and how public participation in scientific research (PPSR) is necessary if we are to save the world’s biodiversity. The amazing thing about this workshop wasn’t so much that these people had a similar goal (after all, who doesn’t want to save the world?), but rather that the participants brought such a diversity of backgrounds, academic disciplines and institutions to the table.
Although the participation of citizens in scientific research goes back centuries, it is only very recently that there has been a push and pull from many different areas, leading to an amazing expansion of this kind of research and a demand for new ideas, ways to engage, and methods to understand how and why this can ultimately lead us forward in conservation. The 50+ projects that were represented during this workshop illustrated this expansion not only by what they had in common – citizen engagement, data collection, and links to better conservation management – but also by what they didn’t. While some projects, like FrogWatch USA or Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, invite participants from across the United States to collect data on a wide geographical scale, other projects such as Ndee bini’ bida’ilzaahi (Pictures of Apache Land) and the Fresno Bird Count are place-specific, uniquely adapted to the needs of their local community and natural environment. Read the rest of this entry »
A few weeks back, I had an opportunity to speak with faculty at Bard College about the school’s new Citizen Science program. This week, I’ve got the inside scoop from the freshmen who took part in the intensive three-week course.
Four students in Dr. Kate Seip’s section of the course were kind enough to share some of their experiences via email. These students cited the professors’ emphasis on practical, real-world application of science knowledge, and their ability to foster in-class discussion as being instrumental for helping them understand the importance of these issues.
Cindy, a budding psychology/neuroscience major, said that Seip and the Citizen Science course have solidified her interest in neuroscience. Though she initially had reservations about spending three more weeks at Bard College during the winter, Cindy maintained an open mind. Indeed, the lack of specific course credit (or grades) seemed to “foster students’ independent quest for knowledge regarding infectious disease and science as a whole.” Her favorite aspect of the course was the laboratory rotation in which students extracted DNA, collected and grew bacteria, and learned about bacteria resistance. Getting up at 8:30am wasn’t even so bad (icy pathways and skin-cracking wind notwithstanding!).
Johannah, a psychology major and cognitive science minor, particularly enjoyed hearing about Seip’s background and why she chose to pursue scientific study. Along with other students, Johannah participated in outreach efforts in local elementary schools as part of the civic engagement portion of the course. In one outreach event, she and others made oobleck with the students.
James, a biology major, thought that the Citizen Science program included “an appropriate balance of lab work, computer modeling, and lectures/information sessions.” He felt that he “lucked out” by being assigned to Seip’s class, as she was “dedicated to the subject material and the program, while being relatively laid back.”
Though James felt that the Citizen Science course could have challenged the students a bit more, he found the lab work was particularly exiting because it was “the most interactive and hands-on part of the program, and it was just an all around fun experience.”
“[Dr. Seip] was dedicated to and passionate about her field, [which] inspired the rest of us to dedicate ourselves to the program. None of the material we studied was dry or boring, and it was easy to see the real-world significance in what we read,” James said.
Invasive species represent a significant threat to native plants, animals, and humans. They cause enormous disruptions in the natural ecological balance, inducing erosion, crowding out food sources, and reducing biodiversity. Invasive species are also a significant drain on the national economy.
If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area today through March 4, you can register for a week full of free activities, briefings, and events to highlight what is being done around the world to stop and slow the spread of invasive species. You can also follow the action on Facebook.
Not in the DC area? Thanks to citizen science, there are still plenty of ways to play an active role in National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Here are some easy and fun citizen science projects that you can do:
What’s Invasive: use a mobile phone to locate invasive plants in locations across the US or create your own list of plants that you want help in locating.
University of Florida Cuban Treefrog Citizen Science Project: capture and remove invasive treefrogs around your homes, collect and submit data on these frogs, and monitor for native treefrogs.
Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey: help scientists gather data on the abundance and distribution of an invasive plant called “garlic mustard” (scientific name: Alliaria petiolata).
Ponder for a moment this quote written by Aldo Leopold in the late 1940s:
“We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, or otherwise have faith in.”
Food for thought, especially if you are a citizen scientist like I am. And even more so if you are a citizen scientist who cares about the environment and believes deep down that citizen science just may save the planet. But who am I to come up with such crazy theories? Hmm, I suppose this calls for an introduction…
My name is Anne, La Señorita Toomey, citizen science aficionado and lover of all things natural. I’m so into citizen science that I’m actually embarking upon a Ph.D. program in the fall to study citizen science as a tool for conservation in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, Madidi National Park in Bolivia. In the meantime, I’m spending my days – and some insomnia-ridden nights – thinking about how and why citizen science is likely to become the most important discovery for the environmental movement in the 21st century.
With the promise of solar energy, hydrogen-powered cars, and molecule transporters (okay, so that last one is on my fantasy wish list), citizen science may sound like a hokey solution to the incredible array of environmental challenges we are currently facing. But if we look deeper into the meanings of science and citizenship, we realize that encouraging non-experts to participate in the building of knowledge about how our world works may have profound implications for the way we, as a global community, will relate to our natural environment.
On Thursday, October 14, ScienceForCitizens.net will host a panel discussion in partnership with George Mason University, Discover Magazine, and the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
The discussion, which is a preamble to the USA Science and Engineering Festival, will focus on the potential and the perils of turning everyone into an expert. The timing is perfect: These days, it seems as if researchers are drawing on the collective insights of ordinary citizens like never before for issues ranging from advancing science to improving public policy. Called crowd-sourcing, it’s a technique that finds the best solution by asking many minds and hands to work on the same problem at the same time.
Sci4Cits has several terrific examples of crowd-sourcing initiatives in our project finder now, including: Galaxy Zoo, Citizen Sky, Open Dinosaur Project, Foldit, and, most recently, Innocentive’s Challenge, a partnership with Boston’s Museum of Science in which citizens are called upon to submit creative concepts for the next great large-scale science or technology museum exhibit. The winner takes home $8,000!
So, let’s do a little crowd-sourcing of our own right now. Tell me your thoughts about these two questions:
Can tapping the wisdom of crowds provide better solutions to today’s greatest questions and challenges?
What are the potentials and the perils of turning everyone into an expert?
I’ll be moderating Thursday’s discussion and I’d like to hear your responses to these questions soon. Post a comment or question below, and I’ll do my best to work it into the public discussion.
And if you live in the D.C. area, try to attend. If you do, come say “hi” and I’ll introduce you to the panelists:
- Kirk Borne, Associate Professor, Astrophysics and Computational Science, George Mason University. Borne is the principal investigator of the Galaxy Zoo project.
- David Rejeski, Director, Science and Technology Innovation, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. Rejeski creates techniques to include citizens in public policy formation, from online video games to prediction markets.
- Dwayne Spradlin, President and CEO, Innocentive. Spradlin has helped ignite public-private partnerships enabling hundreds of thousands of “regular” people to participate in the development of solutions to challenges facing industry and nonprofits.
- Robynn Sturm, Advisor to Deputy Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Sturm has worked on opening government data to the public and currently guides federal agencies towards participatory and incentive-based approaches to solving grand challenges.
The panel discussion takes place from 7 pm to 8:30 pm at George Mason University, Research 1 Building, Room 163, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, Virginia. Please RSVP to PSNELLIN@GMU.EDU
Previously on this blog, Sci4Cits blogger Elizabeth Walter reported on Bard College’s novel attempt to bring citizen science into the minds of all freshmen through an intensive, mandatory, three-week course, aptly titled Citizen Science.
Bard’s President, Leon Botstein, is a passionate believer that citizen science activities hold the key to helping people reconnect to science and better understand the world around them. The more people understand about the scientific process–and how things work–the better able they are to participate more fully in our democracy. (It’s difficult to weigh in on science policy discussions centered on synthetic biology, for example, if one is uninformed on the topic.)
Sci4Cits and Bard are working together to arm freshmen and their professors with plenty of citizen science projects and a platform for them to share their experiences. We hope you will follow their three-week journey, starting in January, and share feedback on the students’ Sci4Cits member blogs!
In the interim, check out this amusing clip of Botstein on the Colbert Report, last night!
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|