Score three for the public!

We’re on a roll, team! Two years ago this month, ScienceCheerleader.com launched with three goals:

1) help increase adult science literacy (see Brain Makeover). [Check!]

2) raise the ranks of citizen scientists and create a shared space for researchers and the public to socialize and work together. (see ScienceForCitizens.net) [Check!]

3) open doors to public participation in science policy (see this breaking news item) [Check!]

Thursday’s ground-breaking announcement in Washington, D.C. marked an important milestone for us (we accomplished the third goal); but, more importantly, it has already started to alter thinking in Washington, D.C. and within the science community.

Two years ago, some folks thought I was “misguided,” “naive,” “nuts,” to push for this level of public participation in science. (It’s one thing to ask someone to help count fireflies or monitor water quality, but to suggest people might add value to critical science policy discussions sometimes drew reactions of shock and horror.)

In two short years, the reactions have changed considerably. On Thursday,ย  when we issued a report on how to build a 21st century technology assessment mechanism, and announced the formation of a network that will put the report into action, the response was incredible. From Beth Noveck at the White House, to representatives from the EPA and other government agencies as well as universities, museums–and, yes, even scientists–the reception was remarkably warm if not enthusiastic.

Here’s a virtual toast to everyone who helped make this happen. Now rest up because we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. ๐Ÿ™‚