The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) was established via Assembly Concurrent Resolution 162 in 1988. The resolution directed CCST “to respond to the Governor, the Legislature, and other entities on public policy issues related to science and technology” — and to create a council “comprised of distinguished scholars and experts, including scientists and engineers from California’s academic and industrial community.” Today, this Council includes many senior scientists from public and private research universities and federal labs serving the Golden State. CCST has grown as a resource to connect decision makers with leading scientists in California and beyond. Over these 30 years, state leaders have requested CCST reports on many issues of policy importance, from natural gas storage safety to sustainable water futures.
Why Tap Into Federal Science?
Uniquely Positioned: Federal departments such as DOE and NASA are uniquely positioned to contribute to California’s scientific conversation. They leverage the might of federally directed research resources and facilities — bringing mission-oriented research and scientific facilities that complement the wealth of expertise at University of California, California State University, Caltech, Stanford, and other campuses.
Trusted Research Partners: Federal research includes many focal areas that can directly inform policy questions at the state level. Federal labs can partner with state agencies and campuses to conduct studies vital for our understanding of natural and physical processes. These federal-state-university partnerships require time for planning and implementation, but they yield collaborations and important knowledge for lifetimes.
Service to Decision Makers: Each federal entity boasts a government relations team able to assist local, state, and federal offices. Together with CCST, these liaisons serve as a resource for community members and officials who want to learn more about federal labs and their broader impact for California.
How CCST Can Help
CCST can help Members and Capitol staff navigate the tremendous resources spread across federal labs and science centers in California.
CCST’s access to the Federal Laboratory Affiliates has resulted in several high-impact reports that have been useful to state leaders, delivering timely, nonpartisan, scientific analysis on complex issues. Examples include:
1. Underground Natural Gas Safety (2018): State leaders tasked CCST with providing an independent assessment of the long-term viability of underground natural gas storage in California. The report effort was led by experts from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
2. Hydraulic Fracturing (2015): CCST and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory partnered to author “An Independent Scientific Assessment of Well Stimulation in California,” a three-volume report responding to SB 4 (2013).
3. Health Effects of New Technology (2011): Assemblymembers Jared Huffman and Bill Monning requested CCST to provide a review on the health impacts of radio frequency exposure from smart meters. CCST convened a panel of expert authors, including those from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
When To Contact CCST
Policymakers should contact CCST:
1. During policy development, to obtain data and advice from subject area experts.
2. During the legislative process, to find experts for testimony at policy, fiscal, select committee, and other hearings.
3. During implementation and regulatory enforcement, accessing current science to review standards, technologies, efficacy, and relevance.
4. When recovering from and analyzing natural disasters and human-engineered catastrophes.
If your office is considering legislation that you believe would benefit from federal expertise, or if you are seeking data and advice to strengthen your decisions with science, contact CCST — and we will help you navigate the bounty of top scientific minds available to California.
Alongside academic powerhouses such as the University of California campuses, Stanford, and Caltech, Californians can take pride in our unrivaled collection of federal laboratories and research centers. CCST helps facilitate links across the capabilities and talents of these labs and centers through its Federal Laboratory Affiliates program — convening their expertise to deliver impartial science advice in response to the Governor, the Legislature, and other state entities. Learn more about the federal labs and science centers benefiting California at www.ccst.us/federal.