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: 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

  • COVID-19 and the Mission of the US Public University

    How have public universities responded to the COVID-19 pandemic? As university presidents look toward resuming in-person classes in the fall, what have they learned from the crisis, how will their institutions evolve as a result, and what might that mean for the future of higher education in the United States? How will public universities adapt to the serious financial challenges likely to arise in states and the nation in the months ahead? Could the response to the pandemic translate into an enhanced role for America’s public universities in the restoration of the nation’s public health and the recovery of its economic and social wellbeing?

    Please join the presidents of three of the nation’s premier public universities—Arizona State, Purdue, and the University of Washington—as they discuss “COVID-19 and the Mission of the US Public University.” Register for the online event and participate in this important conversation.

    Date

    May 27, 2020 2:45pm—3:45pm

    Links

  • Webinar: Applying Engineering Lessons to Pandemic Management

    The COVID-19 pandemic has produced challenges that are commonly dealt with in engineering in the United States. Policy responses to the pandemic could be improved with lessons from other types of infrastructure, and by investing in “efficient resilience” when it comes to medical infrastructure. Engineering professors Braden Allenby and Mikhail Chester take a close look at how engineered systems such as electric power, communications and transportation infrastructures deal with peak load, disaster recovery, and partial failure to offer ideas for building greater resilience into the US medical system and infrastructures that provide critical services during pandemics.

    Register here!

    Date

    May 14, 2020 3:00pm—4:00pm

    Links

  • Webinar: Where’s Congress? Don’t Just Blame Trump for the Coronavirus Catastrophe

    The United States has the world’s highest rating on the Global Health Security Index. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may well have the planet’s highest density of expertise in infectious disease. The nation had forewarning from its health experts and intelligence services that a pandemic was gestating in China and then southern Europe. So how is it possible that the United States mounted such an inept response to the coronavirus pandemic?

    Join M. Anthony Mills (R Street Institute) and Robert Cook-Deegan (Arizona State University) for an in-depth conversation on fixing the broken links between expertise and governance, and on how improving the legislative branch’s capacity for understanding science and technology is necessary to ensure that the country is better prepared for the next public health crisis. Their new essay on this subject can be found at Issues in Science and Technology.

    Date

    April 22, 2020 3:30pm—4:30pm

    Links

  • Lessons from the Yellow Vests, Grand Debates, and Citizen Assembly on Climate in France

    Other nations, including Scotland and England, are following France’s lead in convening their own citizen assemblies on climate. Will the United States be next? If so, what lessons might policymakers and organizers derive from Macron’s misadventure with climate politics and subsequent change of approach? Can citizen assemblies help to overcome political gridlock in order to implement effective climate policies?

    Join Yves Mathieu of Missions Publiques, co-organizer of both the Grand Debates and the Citizen Assembly on Climate, in a CSPO Conversation moderated by Daniel Sarewitz.

    Register here!

     

     

    Date

    February 11, 2020 2:00pm—4:00pm

    Location Information

    ASU Barrett & O’Connor Center
    1800 I St NW
    8th Floor
    Washington, DC 20006

    Links