Congressman Sam Farr and Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi will both address the Council at its February 2008 meeting, when CCST will mark its 20th anniversary.
“We are privileged to have two extraordinary speakers join us for this event,” said CCST Board Chair Karl Pister. “It is especially fitting as both Congressman Farr and Lieutenant Governor Garamendi were instrumental in the creation of CCST.”
The California Council on Science and Technology was established in 1988 by an act of state legislation. Its intended purpose is to provide independent and objective findings on public policy issues involving science and technology that affect the state of California.
CCST was modeled in part after the National Research Council, with a Board of Directors initially from its sustaining institutions and a Council that actively directed projects and initiatives. The University of California, California State University, Community College System, Caltech, Stanford and the University of Southern California sustain the organization. Over the years, CCST expanded its membership to include leading science and technology figures from industry and the national laboratories as well as academic research institutions.
By the conclusion of its first decade, CCST had undertaken a comprehensive overview of the state’s environment for science and technology (CREST), bringing together experts on economics, education, research and development, and more to systematically set out California’s S&T strengths and areas needing improvement. From this analysis came analyses of the science and technology education system, intellectual property policy and innovation.
“In 1988, when I sponsored the law establishing CCST, I had no idea that science would be the politicized field that we too often witness today,” said Congressman Farr. “But the foresight we shared has paid off, and CCST has proven to be a vital tool in the pursuit of responsible policy in California. So many of the policies we struggle with today have technology and science at their center, and the independent, evidence-based conclusions offered by CCST have been invaluable.”
Since its inception, CCST has expanded the scope of its operations significantly. At present it includes, in addition to its Board of Directors and 30 Council members, a network of nearly 120 experts (CCST Fellows) available to assist in projects and consult with state policymakers. In addition, in 2005 CCST’s sustaining institutions were formally joined by six Federal Laboratory Affiliates, which joined the state’s higher education systems and top private universities with the six largest federally funded research institutions in California. It also now includes the California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC), the first state-level science and math teacher council making the input of master teachers readily available to policymakers and education studies to a degree not previously feasible. Cal TAC was the first state equivalent of the National Teacher Advisory Council established by the National Academy of Science.
CCST was also the first state-level organization to formally partner with the National Academies, leading to a collaboration that has led to several joint efforts, including the first national convocation on state-level science and technology policy in 2007.
“CCST’s goal was to become established as a significant contributor to the formation of public policy and in the molding of public opinion on all important matters relating to science and technology policy in California,” said Pister. “In this, I believe we have succeeded.”