Posted by Jess C.:
After numerous conversations with lobbyists, non-profits, academics, and federal employees (and, yes, visits to a favorite old haunt), I am even more aware of the complex convoluted relationship that exists between science and policy. There is policy for science (like setting budget levels for NSF or NIH), but there is a flip side as well: the science used for policy… to push forward agendas, to craft new legislation, to divert attention from other issues… In other words, the science is not always separate from the politics. I think this reaffirms the role of scientists to do good science, but also points toward the need for scientists to be cognizant of the implications of the research. There are numerous outposts on the web that address these issues and google search will undoubtedly get you there (or start with CSPO – yes, a shameless plug to the people that sponsored my trip).