The California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program has placed its fourth consecutive group of fellows in the California state legislature, continuing to build on a growing legacy of making S&T expertise available to lawmakers in a way most states do not have.
Each year, the program places ten professional scientists in yearlong appointments in the legislature. It is designed to enable fellows to work with policymakers in addressing issues that involve science or technology. The CCST program is modeled on a similar one run by AAAS in Congress for decades; four years after its inception, the California S&T Policy Fellowship remains the only state-level program of its kind.
The first three groups of fellows have been well received by the legislature, receiving formal acknowledgments and thanks at the end of their terms from both houses.
“Each of these men and women… brought a vital body of knowledge and experience, and have shared with us their insights on crucial policy issues ranging from energy to agriculture,” said Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez in recognizing the 2011-12 fellows on the floor of the Assembly last August.
The intersection of science, technology and policy can be challenging. Many issues, including those such as water management or greenhouse gas emissions, can involve considerable amounts of research and data. The fellows are charged with using their analytical and research expertise to help policymakers navigate these data.
Many previous fellows have continued employment in the public sector following the end of their appointments, with several obtaining jobs in the Legislative staff and executive agencies of California; one has been recruited to work as staff to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the White House.
The 2012-13 group of fellows is working in a range of appointments, including the Senate committees on Natural Resources and Water Committee, Environmental Quality, Energy, Utilities and Communications, and Health and Human Services, as well as the Senate Office of Research and the offices of five Assembly members.