Science, Policy and Citizenship Program

Program Areas –

Program Background

Building on its efforts to develop techniques for ensuring that public values play a meaningful role in deliberations and decisions about science and technology, CSPO has organized Citizen’s Technology Forums designed to engage the public around choices particular to specific technologies, such as:

In April of 2010, CSPO joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Boston Museum of Science, Loka Institute and Science Cheerleader to form a network, Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST), as included in the report Reinventing Technology Assessment for the 21st Century.

As a follow-up to the effort, CSPO developed this project that first brought together high school age students to deliberate on policies related to transformative technologies as well as existing science meets policy issues, in face-to-face discussions and online forums with experts in the field, and culminating in a mock hearing where the students present their prepared testimony.

Program Testimonials:

OClaire Parkinson, Expert Participant and Climatologist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center:

The Climate Geoengineering Participatory Technology Assessment is an exciting, innovative project to get top-rate high school students thinking through not just the science and technology behind the very troublesome and complicated topic of geoengineering but all the other aspects involved, including ethical and policy considerations. These students are researching in depth one particular geoengineering possibility and are tasked with developing their own position and defending it in front of a panel of professionals, in a mock congressional hearing. This whole process is one giant step toward having these students become the type of informed, thinking citizens that the world desperately needs.

SchoepleinMelissa Schoeplein, Project Facilitator and Science Policy Program Coordinator, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology:

This project has provided an excellent opportunity for my students to model real-world problem solving. It’s been exciting to watch the students go from their initial face-to-face deliberation to the online discussion board where they’ve been able to engage with experts in the field and critically think about geoengineering and potential future implications of this technology. With this exercise, I see my students starting to appreciate the challenges of policy making. Next week they will have the ultimate policy making challenge: they will have to make a decision.

OSapir Nachum, Student Participant and Senior, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology:

Thank you for organizing this opportunity. It was a great way to not only develop our opinions about a technology, but also to take part in and understand a political process.