The individuals and organizations whose job is to research, coordinate, influence, create, and disseminate science policy toil in a variety of settings: academia, think tanks, government agencies, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Their contributions make a difference in how we think about issues, society, and the world around us.
Thinking about making the move to science policy? You can jump right in and apply directly to one of the many policy organizations. Alternatively, you can apply for a fellowship, or you can go back to school for more specific training. We--Next Wave editors, feature contributors, and individuals working in the field--have collaborated to pull together a list of resources for the policy neophyte.
If this month's feature has piqued your interest but you'd like to know more about science policy, you might want to turn first to Next Wave's earlier features on Scientist Advocates and Policy Wonks. Alternatively, go directly to the (nonexhaustive) list below for links to programs and fellowship opportunities. As always, if you find something good that we have missed, please let us know!
Simon Fraser University Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology
Dalhousie University Health, Law, and Policy Training Forum
University of Sussex Science and Technology Policy Research Unit
Columbia University Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes
George Washington University Center for International Science and Technology Policy
Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies
University of California at Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
University of Minnesota Joint Degree Program in Law, Health, and the Life Sciences
University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center
Science Policy Fellowships and Internships
CIHR Policy Research Initiative .
The Royal Society's MP-Scientist pairing scheme.
Science-policy fellowships are offered through many professional societies, including the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Physics. In all likelihood, a fellowship exists in an area that suits you. In addition, AAAS Science Policy Fellowships provide scientists of all stripes the opportunity to work either in Congress or in the diplomatic corps at the Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department, or the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). AAAS, publisher of Science and Science's Next Wave, also offers specific agency fellowships at NIH, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the RAND Corporation, and elsewhere.
The National Academies of Science and Engineering offer the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Internship to engage graduate science, engineering, medical, veterinary, business, and law students in the analysis and creation of science and technology policy and to familiarize them with the interactions of science, technology, and government.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management started its Presidential Management Internship in 1977, as a training program for those interested in pursuing a career in the analysis and management of public policy programs in the U.S. government.
To learn more about how to find a fellowship and the experience of being a science-policy fellow, sample these articles on policy fellowships that have been published on Next Wave:
Where to Now? Governmental Agencies, Think Tanks, and NGOs
For quick, user-friendly international leads to key science-policy resources, search the BUBL Information Service.
Institution of Engineers, Australia (IE,Aust) Policy Unit.
Science and Technology Knowledge Platform supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
CIHR is a sponsor of Next Wave Canada
Council of Europe's Steering Committee on Bioethics
ESF is a sponsor of Next Wave Europe
Various Ministries of Health
The General Energy Council (AER)advises on energy policy, especially on strategic problems. Recent reports include policy advisories on energy research, on security of supply, on government roles in liberalised energymarkets and on post-Kyoto energy policy.
The Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy (AWT) advises the Government and the Parliament on the science and technology policy to be pursued nationally and internationally, and on information policy in the science and technology fields. The Council also carries out foresight studies in the field of science and technology.
Onderwijsraad (Council for Education) advises on strategic matters and law in the field of education.
Social and Economic Council (SER) is the main advisory body of the Dutch government on national and international social and economic policy. Being independent from the government and financed by industry, the SER may give advice, solicited or unsolicited, on all major social and economic affairs.
Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (WRR) (The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy) especially concentrates on developments that will affect society in the longer term. Policy areas like health care, transport and communications, education call for decisions that will determine the shape of society for decades to come. Such decisions require a well-balanced picture of the future.
The Health Council of the Netherlands ( Gezondheidsraad) is an independent advisory body whose task is to advise Ministers and Parliament in the field of public health.
The Advisory Council on Health Research ( Raad voor Gezondheidsonderzoek, RGO), established in 1987, advises the government, especially the ministry of Health, the ministry of Education and Science, and the ministry of Economic Affairs, on matters relating to health research, health services research and the infrastructure of such research.
The Wadden Advisory Council (WAC) was instituted by the government in 1982. The council's task is to provide the authorities with advice on the most important nature reserve in the Netherlands: the Wadden region. The WAC advises on matters of general importance to the Wadden region such as gas drilling, governing and administrating the region, hikes across the Wadden mud flats, fishing, (water)recreation, sand extraction, fishing for shellfish, shipping, information and education.
The big scientific institutions, such as the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Physics, all employ teams of people to deal with their policy making and interactions with the political arena. Many of them are members of networking group PolicyNet. Members of Parliament (MPs) and peers with interests in science tend to employ researchers who share those interests, and both Houses of Parliament have library staff that help prepare scientific briefings.
The Wellcome Trust Policy Unit.
Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy (coalition of biomedical research societies)
National Institutes of Health Office of Science Policy and Communications
National Science Foundation Office of Legislative and Public Affairs