Really, you CAN help shape science policy. Here’s a start.

“Cavalier initiates ground-breaking report and helps launch first-of-its-kind national network to engage the public in emerging technology assessments.”

In April, 2010, I spent the afternoon at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., to help release a report and a call to action for the creation of a national participatory technology assessment network.

What originally began as Science Cheerleader’s effort to help reopen the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (an agency, shut down in the 90′s, that helped Congress better understand policy implications of complex, science issues), evolved into this reincarnation. More on the OTA here.

Why? It became apparent after two years-worth of numerous discussions with a variety of stakeholders, that reopening the “old” OTA would leave little, if any, opportunities to invoke contemporary applications critical to 21st century governing: decentralized expertise (tapping the knowledge of scientists across the nation) and citizen engagement, to name but two.

The report, Reinventing Technology Assessment: A 21st Century Model, was authored by my partner in crime, Richard Sclove, the founder and senior fellow of the Loka Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making science and technology responsive to democratically decided priorities. The report emphasizes the need to incorporate citizen-participation methods to complement expert analysis.

Government policymakers, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and citizens rely on analysis to capably navigate the technology-intensive world in which we now live. The new model, described in the report, would provide opportunities to generate input from a diverse public audience, while promoting societal discussions and public education.

This redefines the technology assessment model by recommending the formation of a first-of-its-kind U.S. network to implement the recommendations: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST). Click here and JOIN THIS NETWORK. Get involved and help shape science policy. Every voice matters. YOUR local knowledge, your values, your insights should help guide sound policy. Now’s your chance.
Sign up, get involved in shaping science policy: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology Network

Here’s the founding team.

Pictured left to right: Mahmud Faroque, AZ State Univ.; David Sittenfeld, Boston Museum of Science; Larry Bell, Boston Museum of Science; David Rejeski, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars; Richard Sclove, Loka Institute; Darlene Cavalier, Not pictured: David Guston, ASU; David Rabkin, MoS.

Other links you might find of interest:
Here’s the full report, authored by Richard Sclove
The Scientist profiles Cavalier’s efforts
Science Progress article authored by Cavalier, about this topic
Cavalier meets with Rep. Rush Holt