CCST to participate in three sessions at NCSE 2020 conference in Washington DC

January 6, 2020 | ,  

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) will be participating in two panels and one workshop at the 2020 National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) annual conference January 6–9, in Washington, D.C. The Annual Conference brings together a diverse community of experts for an enriching opportunity to collaborate on exciting projects, share research and best practices, and build professional relationships. Attendees include national and international leaders in education, government, civil society, and business. The conference is recognized for its notable presenters and innovative programming. NCSE 2020 will focus on Science in Environmental Decision-Making. The full agenda can be found on NCSE’s website.


Career Workshop
Wed., Jan 8th, 7:30 am, Early Bird Session:

Career pathways for scientists interested in decision-making

Many of the most pressing policy issues faced by society are informed by science and technology. In a cultural climate where scientific thinking and popular ideology are increasingly portrayed as antagonistic, actions to improve connections between scientists and decision-makers are integral to the continued progress of unbiased fact-based science policy. Scientists can play a key role in the governmental decision-making process through a variety of pathways, from contributing expert advice to serving as an elected official.

This session will provide insight into state and federal decision-making processes and the many ways that scientists at all career stages can engage with the process. Participants will hear from a panel of scientists representing different disciplines and career pathways about their experiences at the intersection of policy and science. The panelists will provide examples of policy engagement including, working as state legislative staff, serving as Science Advisors of high ranking executive staff, or by being elected to office. Attendees will gain an enhanced appreciation of the policy world and the diverse ways to interact in it as well as have time to ask plenty of questions.

Sarah Brady, Deputy Director, California Council on Science and Technology*
Angee Doerr, Assistant Professor, Oregon State University*
Le Ondra Clark Harvey, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies*
Mark Elsesser, Associate Director of Government Affairs, American Physical Society*
Heather Mannix, Assistant Director for Policy Engagement, COMPASS
Pervaze Sheikh, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy, Congressional Research Service
Aaron Goldner, Senior Advisor on Energy and Transportation Policy, Senator Whitehouse (D-RI)

*CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows alumni


Wildfire Resilience Panel
Wed., Jan 8th, 2:15 pm, Session D4:

Bridging science and policy for improved wildfire resilience and healthy forests

Wildfires are a common and natural occurrence in many ecosystems around the world. However, wildfires can also significantly threaten lives and infrastructure. Several regions around the world have recently suffered record-breaking destructive wildfires, including Australia, Greece, Portugal, Russia, and the United States. The severity of wildfires are predicted to worsen with climate change in some regions, creating an urgent need to leverage science and technology to mitigate increasing wildfire risk while fostering healthy natural environments.

The 2018 California wildfire season was the most destructive and deadliest on record raising a number of complex policy issues for the state. A broad network of stakeholders, researchers, and decision-makers are working together to prepare for and respond to the new reality. This symposium will explore several examples where cross-cutting partnerships are leveraging advances in science and technology to better manage natural lands, improve emergency response, and respond to environmental impacts such as reduced air and water quality.


  • Teresa Feo, Program Associate, California Council on Science and Technology*
  • Angela Phillips Diaz, Executive Director of Government Research Relations, University of California, San Diego
  • Scott Stephens, Professor of Fire Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • Michelle Newcomer, Research Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Jennifer Montgomery, Director, Governor of California’s Forest Management Task Force

*CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows alumni


State Level Science Policy Panel
Thu., Jan 9th, 10:30 am, Session E1:

State Policy and Independent State Academies of Science: Examples from WA and CA

In states across the nation, scientists and engineers from academia, industry, and federal laboratories are using their expertise to inform policy decisions in state legislatures and agencies. In very real and immediate ways, those policy decisions impact a state’s natural resources (water, air, agriculture, and forests); jobs and infrastructure; and medical and behavioral health, education at all levels, and worker preparation. Those policies also create and incentivize the economic and educational environment for research and innovation to thrive—or not.

In this session, speakers will discuss specific examples from two states with boundary spanning organizations created specifically to enable scientists and engineers to advise state policymakers over time—California and Washington. Presenters from the California Council on Science and Technology will discuss the policy impacts of its peer reviewed report on hydraulic fracturing stimulations in the oil and gas industry (2015), as well as ongoing collaborations between scientists and policymakers based on the report findings. Presenters from the Washington State Academy of Sciences will discuss its evaluation of a newly created state agency’s (Puget Sound Partnership (PSP)) system of indicators of ecosystem condition, and human health and well-being within and around the Puget Sound, as well as ongoing interactions to advise and recommend how PSP might most effectively continue the process of refining and selecting indicators. Both sets of presentations will include brief descriptions of how the organizations were created to provide scientific and technical advice to state policymakers.


  • Sarah Brady, Deputy Director, California Council on Science and Technology*
  • Jane Long, Senior Fellow, California Council on Science and Technology
  • Donna Gerardi Riordan, Executive Director, Washington State Academy of Sciences

*CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows alumni

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