CSPO Conversations

Occasional Encounters in Science, Society and Policy

CSPO conversations are occasional dialogues and collective reflections, among thought leaders, partners and collaborators, on contemporary issues at the intersections of science, society and policy — from the perils of remaining captive to a “scientific-technological elite” to pragmatic actions in dealing with climate change.

  • Webinar: How Do You Make a Policy Idea Go Viral?

    Directly informing policymaking is the goal of many researchers and academics in policy relevant fields. But no matter how original or brilliant a policy idea is, it can struggle for traction in a sea of articles and opinion pieces. How do you make your work and voice stand out?

    Learn from Divyansh Kaushik and Caleb Watney, two early career researchers who wrote and published an opinion piece with Issues in Science and Technology before networking and promoting their work onto a national stage. Not only did they cultivate a large audience for their proposed reforms to the US immigration system for foreign students and entrepreneurs, but their ideas were submitted to the House Judiciary Committee’s legislative debate on the topic. How did they do it? How can Issues help?

    Date

    September 15, 2021 2:00pm—3:00pm

    Links

  • Webinar: How Do We Build Infrastructure for a Future We Can’t See?

    The United States is preparing to spend $1 trillion on repairing and upgrading the country’s infrastructure. There will be improvements to traditional systems including transportation networks and energy grids, but the proposed federal funding will also go toward increasing the nation’s climate resilience and expanding broadband internet access.

    All of this infrastructure investment must account for a rapidly changing world in which future climate, technologies, politics, and basic necessities may be very different from those of today. How can policymakers ensure that infrastructure systems keep pace with our uncertain future? Do we need to change our conception of what infrastructure is and what it can do? In the past, infrastructure expansion such as highways has reinforced inequities—can this round of building be a force for greater equity?

    On August 25 at 3 PM ET, join Mikhail Chester (Arizona State University), Tierra Bills (Wayne State University), and Guru Madhavan (National Academy of Engineering) as they discuss how infrastructure can help society be more equitable, flexible, and resilient, in a discussion moderated by Paul Mackie of the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board.

    Date

    August 25, 2021 3:00pm—4:00pm

  • Webinar: Imagining a New Future for Nuclear Power

    Is it possible for nuclear power to answer the call for the small-scale, community-focused, decentralized energy future envisioned by many progressives? Can nuclear engineering jettison its tradition of training engineers to be uncritical champions of the technology? What would a revitalized nuclear industry look like?

    On June 1, Issues in Science and Technology and the Consortium for Science, Policy, & Outcomes will host a discussion with Suzanne Hobbs Baker (Good Energy Collective), Denia Djokić (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs), Jessica Lovering (Good Energy Collective) and Aditi Verma (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs), moderated by Gloria Gonzalez (Politico). These four nuclear engineers and experts are actively engaging with the question how their field—not to mention power plants themselves—could change to meet the challenges of the present and future.

    Date

    June 01, 2021 2:00pm—3:00pm

    Links

  • Webinar: Can Alternative Meats Bring the Heartland More than Burgers?

    The rise of alternative meats—either plant-based or lab-grown—could bring huge benefits for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and potentially even rural workers and the national economy. Currently, progress in this field is slow—alternative meats make up less than 1% of the total meat market share. Accelerating innovation will require government leadership, public policy, and investment.

    Should the government fund alternative meats? What policies would best support innovation? Join CSPO and Issues in Science and Technology for a virtual panel discussion with Alex Smith (Breakthrough Institute), Christy Spackman (Arizona State University), and Johnny Ream (Stray Dog Capital) and moderated by Los Angeles Times science journalist Amina Khan.

    Register here!

    Date

    April 28, 2021 1:00pm—2:00pm

    Links

  • Webinar: Should We Patent a COVID-19 Vaccine?

    Quashing the COVID-19 pandemic will require companies to manufacture billions of vaccines at an affordable price. Conventional wisdom says that the best way to do this requires easing up on patent restrictions. But Ken Shadlen argues that the most effective way to quickly mass-produce a COVID-19 vaccine may be to have “patent holders organize networks of licensees and manufacturers, letting them coordinate and manage global supply chains, like giant, vertically integrated firms.”

    However, if drug prices aren’t kept under control, Bhaven Sampat warns, “COVID-19 treatments could end up being limited to those who can pay—or even bankrupting the health care system.” Taxpayer-funded research and government efforts have helped pharmaceutical companies develop vaccine candidates at unprecedented speed. But the debate over whether the government has any say over how much those drugs should cost has been raging for decades.  The COVID-19 crisis may be pointing to a better way to translate government-funded science into affordable pharmaceuticals.

    On Friday, September 11, at 12:00 PM ET, join Ken Shadlen and Bhaven Sampat for an in-depth discussion, moderated by Robert Cook-Deegan, on how best to guarantee access for the vaccine that will help end this crisis.

    Date

    September 11, 2020 12:00pm—1:00pm

    Links

  • Webinar: Can Voting by Mail Ensure a Safe and Secure Election?

    During a presidential election year, the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to disrupt the most important tenet of democracy: political representation. In response, many states are implementing or considering systems to allow citizens to vote by mail.

    Although most observers find large-scale voter fraud unlikely, there are significant challenges to scaling up vote-by-mail. Officials need to address cybersecurity concerns and make absentee voting more widely accessible. Otherwise the system will be set up for failure—and this election will be remembered as the 2020 vote-by-mail fiasco.

    On June 24 at 1:00 PM ET, join Maria Carnovale, lead policy analyst at Duke University’s Initiative for Science and Society, to discuss her Issues article, “Will the Idea of Vote-by-Mail Survive COVID-19?

    Register here!

    Date

    June 24, 2020 1:00pm—2:00pm

    Links

  • Webinar: A Global Strategy for Preventing the Next Pandemic

    Protection of biodiversity and animal habitat need to be on the front lines of the fight against deadly diseases. Habitat destruction and the wildlife trade are just two of the unsustainable practices that are increasing the likelihood of diseases such as COVID-19 making the leap from animals to humans. Conservation scientist Leah Gerber, the founding director of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at Arizona State University, proposes creating a global body with scientific heft and enforcement teeth to lead a sustained fight against the drivers of zoonotic disease.

    Register here!

    Date

    June 11, 2020 3:00pm—4:00pm

    Links

  • Webinar: Are Bats Really to Blame for the COVID-19 Pandemic?

    Bats have been identified by some experts, and in the media, as the culprits behind the costliest pandemic in modern history, even though the source and method of transmission of the novel coronavirus remain unclear. Despite a long tradition of being misunderstood and feared, bats have an outstanding record of living safely with humans. Exaggerated warnings of bat disease risks aren’t just misguided. They threaten the health of entire ecosystems and economies. Join Merlin Tuttle, one of the world’s leading bat scientists and conservation experts, to discuss the vital role bats play in ecosystems and how misplaced public health concerns are endangering these important mammals.

    Register here!

    Date

    May 27, 2020 4:00pm—5:00pm

    Links