Historic State investment affirms value and impact of the CCST Fellowship, as the program enters its 15th year of delivering scientific expertise to policymakers
California just made a historic move to help ensure that science and technology advice will continue to be easily accessible to policymakers for years to come.
The $310.8 billion state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on June 27th provides the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) with $10 million to fund the CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellows program (CCST Science Fellows). With this landmark investment, the program successfully meets its endowment goal of $30 million, which will sustain a perpetual, stable, and trusted pipeline of scientific advisors to California policymakers.
Among those commending the state’s visionary decision is Senator Nancy Skinner (D- Berkeley), who has been one of the program’s champions since the first years of the fellowship. She has hosted and mentored numerous CCST Science Fellows over the program’s 15 years.
Modeled after the national fellowship program developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the CCST Science Fellows program was established in 2009 with funds from a consortium of generous philanthropic donors led by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The fellowship places PhD-level scientists and engineers in the California State Legislature, the Executive Branch, and State Agencies for a year of public service and leadership training, attracting accomplished researchers from CCST’s Partner Institutions and beyond.
Over the last 15 years, the fellowship has drawn champions spanning the California Legislature, the Executive Branch, philanthropic leaders, the CCST board, and Fellowship alumni. In fact, roughly 84% of Alumni work in policy-related careers, and many serve as Fellows trainers and mentors.
Delivering on its reputation as a global leader in innovation and the fifth largest economy in the world, California has provided crucial support for the CCST Science Fellows Program in recent years. In 2019, the State allocated $11.5 million to the program, followed by another $10 million in 2022. With the latest $10 million closing a critical funding gap, CCST has successfully reached its $30 million endowment goal, ensuring that California policymakers have ready access to a minimum of 8 to 10 CCST Science Fellows annually. The fellowship will also continue to provide a vital example of collaboration between government, philanthropy, and academia – hosted by a nonpartisan nonprofit – through a model that is scalable and replicable.
In fact, the program has served as a model for other state and national programs, inspiring at least 20 state fellowships currently in existence or under development.
Now, California has created a legacy that clearly emphasizes California policymakers’ dedication to scientific integrity and science-informed policy, as well as a commitment to opening up career opportunities for a diverse cadre of civic-minded scientists.
As President of the Moore Foundation, Dr. Harvey Fineberg has played an indispensable role in the development and ongoing success of the fellowship.
Through normalizing the integration of science with policy and increasing the demand for science, the CCST Science Fellows program has, in effect, changed the Sacramento ecosystem.
The State’s investment recognizes the necessity of sustaining this science-policy connection to effectively address the growing threats of overlapping and compounding disasters that will be increasingly exacerbated by climate change.
About the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship
The CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows program places PhD-level scientists, engineers, and social scientists in the California State Legislature, State Agencies, and Offices of the Governor for a year of public policy, leadership training, and public service—training scientific thinkers to be policy-savvy, while helping equip California’s decision makers with science-savvy staff. Discover how our CCST S&T Policy Fellows make a difference in California’s policy arena and learn how to apply at CCST.us/CCST-Science-Fellows-Program.