Science Outside the Lab

Science Outside the Lab


Science Outside the Lab, presented by Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement & Training in Science & Society (CENTSS), explores the relationships among science, policy, and societal outcomes in a place where many important decisions about these things are made—Washington, DC.

What is it?

Science Outside the Lab, presented by Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO), explores the relationships among science, policy, and societal outcomes in a place where many important decisions about these things are made—Washington, DC. During the one-week workshop, students will meet and interact with the people who fund, regulate, shape, critique, publicize, and study science, including congressional staffers, funding agency officers, lobbyists, regulators, journalists, academics, museum curators, and others.


With the intersections between science, politics, and society making headlines every day, it is more important than ever for scientists and engineers to know how the decisions that affect them are made. Washington, DC, where the $140 billion of federal science money and countless policy decisions originate, is the perfect setting to delve into the complicated world of science policy. Junior scholars who understand the goals and implications of publicly funded science will likely have an advantage when seeking jobs and funding. This program also will explore numerous careers in the science policy realm.

Who should attend?

Doctoral students who are interested in how the decisions about science funding, regulation, and policy are made will benefit from this program. Graduate students interested in careers in science policy also will find this to be an excellent opportunity to learn about important fellowships and meet current science policy professionals.

What to expect?

Arizona State University hosts the program at its Washington Center and meetings take place in locations throughout the Washington, DC, area, which allows students to experience many facets of the nation’s capital. This is not a one-week lecture series. It includes discussions, hands-on experiences, and on-location learning. It is designed not just to teach how decisions are made but to give the participants a chance to try their hands at them as well.

The primary component of the program is the discussions the students will have with people throughout the District of Columbia. All presenters are asked to limit their opening comments to fifteen minutes. This leaves plenty of time for conversation. This opportunity, of course, comes with a significant responsibility. The success of the course will rest on participants’ ability to ask probing questions and explore the subtler facets of policy. The goal is to expose graduate scientists and engineers to as many different viewpoints as possible and help them understand how the people and institutions in Washington, DC, both influence and learn from science.


ONE WEEK WORKSHOP: $2,000, includes all program activities and materials, 5 weekday lunches, and local transportation via the Metro while in Washington, DC. NO lodging or travel to and from DC will be provided. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from Washington, DC, and making their own lodging arrangements for the duration of the program, as well as their own lunches during the weekend and all dinners.

A policy immersion program in Washington, DC, for graduate students

One policy workshop is being offered in 2020:

  • Monday, June 8 to Friday, June 12
    (Arriving Sunday, June 7 and departing Saturday, June 13)

How do I apply?

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2020.

Please complete the Google form application.


Contact CENTSS at [email protected].