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.

  • Involving the Public in Participatory Scenario Planning in Maui, Hawai‘i

    In this project, a participatory scenario planning process and modeling framework was used to demonstrate and communicate the consequences and tradeoffs of alternative land management strategies under a changing climate, and to serve as a tool for decision making under environmental and socioeconomic uncertainty on the island of Maui. An integrated land cover/hydrological modeling framework was developed using GIS data, stakeholder input, climate information and projections, and empirical data to estimate future groundwater recharge on Maui. Four future land-cover scenarios and two downscaled climate projections representing wet and dry climate futures were used to estimate average annual groundwater recharge at the end of the century. The future land-cover scenarios were codeveloped with over 100 diverse stakeholders to portray feasible development futures: Future 1 – ecological conservation-focused, Future 2 – status quo, Future 3 – development-focused, and Future 4 – balanced conservation and development. The estimated mean island-wide recharge rate increased under all future land-cover and climate combinations, although results varied by watershed. Results showed that urban expansion is currently slated for coastal areas that are already water-stressed and had low recharge projections. Through co-development of and participation in this research project, municipal water utilities, policy makers, and planners increased their familiarity with uncertainty and climate projections and are using results to choose watersheds to develop for new freshwater sources.

    This completed project will demonstrate how the co-development of climate research through participatory scenario planning and modeling can accelerate the uptake of complex climate data and projections into local decision making by increasing familiarity with uncertain futures.


    May 26, 2022 12:00pm—1:00pm

    Additional Information

    COVID-19 Policies:

    • Attendees are required to show proof of up to date vaccination with ID.
    • Lunch will be provided.
    • This event will also be livestreamed. Register here to attend virtually.


    Location Information

    ASU Washington Center

    1800 I St NW

    Washington, DC 20006

  • Webinar: What Is Biosecurity for the Twenty-First Century?

    After September 11 and the anthrax attacks in 2001, the United States adopted a top-down governance structure for bioterrorism that famously employed “guns, gates, and guards” to prevent attacks, while keeping track of suspicious “insiders” who might cause harm. But today, after the emergence of the novel coronavirus and its variants, society’s idea of what constitutes biological security and safety is changing. Looking toward a future in which gene editing can be done by do-it-yourselfers, biological engineering is common, and environmental changes shape new biorealities, the old top-down model of biosecurity will not be up to the task.


    On May 23 at 3:00 PM ET, join Melissa Haendel (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus), David Gillum (Arizona State University), Sam Weiss Evans (Harvard Kennedy School), and Yong-Bee Lim (Council on Strategic Risks) to discuss how to reimagine biosecurity and biosafety—and even the relationship between biological research and society—for a new era.



    May 23, 2022 3:00pm—4:00pm


  • Imagining COP60: Scenarios, Sci-fi, and Policy Tools in Post-Normal Fiction

    Last year’s COP26 was one of the most widely followed events in the history of climate politics. Though new, more ambitious agreements were reached, the world was left with big questions about whether nations would be able to limit global warming to 1.5°C—and how we will adapt to the changes and climate chaos coming.

    In his debut book, Our Shared Storm: A Novel of Five Climate Futures, climate fiction author Andrew Dana Hudson imagines the five possible futures for the COP and climate politics. Inspired by the IPCC’s Shared Socioeconomic Pathways scenarios, which were used in the recent Sixth Assessment Report, the stories examine the cultures of climate policy making in futures that range from hopeful to harrowing. The book also includes non-fiction discussions of the opportunities and challenges of writing climate fiction and using stories to advance policy thinking.


    April 28, 2022 12:00pm—1:00pm

    Location Information

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


  • Webinar: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century

    Vannevar Bush’s influence on the history and institutions of US science and technology is unrivaled, but he remains relatively unknown outside wonky science policy circles. G. Pascal Zachary, Bush’s biographer and editor of a new collection of Bush’s writings, The Essential Writings of Vannevar Bush (Columbia University Press, 2022) talks with historian of science and technology Emily Gibson about this remarkable figure, and why Bush’s pioneering insights and lucid writings deserve a wide audience today.


    March 24, 2022 3:00pm—4:00pm

  • Webinar: Does Engineering Education Need a Revolution?

    The basic structure of engineering education was set in 1955 and hasn’t changed much since. Rather than hands-on problem solving, classes emphasize theory, while a “pipeline mindset” perpetuates a system designed to keep people out rather than welcome them in. How can engineering schools connect their curricula to solving the broader social justice, equity, and environmental issues that motivate today’s students?

    On December 17 at 3 PM ET, join past president of the American Society for Engineering Education Sheryl Sorby, current ASEE executive director Norman L. Fortenberry, and Gilda Barabino, president of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, for a discussion moderated by Chemical & Engineering News science news editor Jessica Marshall on what it will take to prepare tomorrow’s engineers for our digital, diverse, global, and rapidly changing society. Register today!


    December 17, 2021 3:00pm—4:00pm


  • True Stories That Matter: Applying Creative Nonfiction to Science & Policy Writing

    You’ve produced some important research or a policy plan that could create meaningful change. How do you make your ideas and proposals stand out and get read? Creative nonfiction offers a way for researchers, policy wonks, program managers, grant writers, and writers of all forms to turn their ideas into compelling narratives.

    Join Lee Gutkind, the “Godfather” behind creative nonfiction (Vanity Fair), on November 16 from 12:00-1:00 pm for an in-person CSPO Conversation! He will introduce and deconstruct the basic techniques of the genre and how they can be applied to make complicated ideas more appealing to a general audience.  There will be a special emphasis on scene writing, a technique that will help readers understand and relate to scientific issues and ideas.

    Masks are required. A livestream will also be available.

    Register here to join us in-person or to receive the livestream link!


    November 16, 2021 12:00pm—1:00pm

    Location Information

    ASU Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center

    1800 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006


    8th floor. Masks are required.

  • 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?


    September 15, 2021 2:00pm—3:00pm


  • 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.


    August 25, 2021 3:00pm—4:00pm