State Fellowships Planning Grant

State legislators and policymakers around the United States are encountering increasingly complicated science- and technology-related matters — pertaining to water, agriculture, energy, privacy, health, natural resources, food security, and other pressing issues. Policy decisions on these topics have widespread and long-term impacts, so it is valuable for state government lawmakers to have rapid access to trusted, impartial experts who can provide advice on and help decipher these complex issues.

Since 2010, our own CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows Program has placed PhD-level scientists annually in the California State Legislature for one-year appointments. These CCST Science Fellows gain valuable real-world experience working directly in the policymaking process as legislative staff, while California state legislators gain access to impartial, science-savvy staff to help them make critical decisions. 

CCST has learned a great deal from offering this public service and government leadership training experience for scientists and engineers. Encouraged by this success, in summer 2016 CCST announced a new grant to encourage other states to replicate or adapt our CCST Science Fellows program. Funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (#GBMF5943) and the Simons Foundation, this planning grant would support each grantee in completing landscape analyses, feasibility studies, and other strategic steps towards creating their own state-based, immersive science and technology policy fellowship.

In early 2017, proposals from nine states were awarded grants. CCST invited all nine teams to participate in a grant launch workshop co-hosted with the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship program. Indeed, the CCST modeled its state fellowship program after that of AAAS, which places scientists in congressional offices and federal agencies.

The collective social impact of the AAAS and CCST policy fellowships has come full circle with this planning grant: of the nine awarded teams, three are led by former CCST or AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows. We hope this is a sign of even farther-reaching impact in the years to come.



Annie Morgan
CCST Science Fellows Program Manager

There is great value in assuring science informs policy. By embedding scientists in legislative offices, the CCST Science Fellows program infuses scientific knowledge and evidence into critical deliberations. It is inspiring to see the measurable success of the program in California, and we hope to see this model spread to other state capitals to create a national network of science advising programs.” — Jon Kaye, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation