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Want to Inform Policymaking? Start Knocking on Doors

Although Missouri is home to thriving science, technology, and biotech industries, until recently there was little engagement on policy matters between the state’s experts and its legislators.  
 
In 2016, a group of PhD students at Mizzou decided to set up a program to bring relevant expertise to state lawmakers. Making weekly trips to the capitol building, they went door-to-door to gather support. As they listened to lawmakers’ suggestions and concerns, they worked to develop a program that would be useful, reliable, and trusted. 
 
This remarkable effort resulted in the Missouri Science & Technology (MOST) Policy Initiative, a program that provides members of the Missouri General Assembly with nonpartisan science and technology expertise in the form of “Science Notes.” As Brittany N. Whitley and Rachel K. Owen point out, the MOST initiative has demonstrated that its “approach to evidence-based policymaking can increase the ways that research is included in policy conversations”—and could serve as a model for other states seeking to incorporate technical expertise into policy decisions.

Read more about the development of the MOST initiative and its lessons for other policy engagement efforts.

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HEALTH SECURITY
The US Needs a Director of National Health Security
The government must designate a single authority, argues Andrew Kilianski, to coordinate the health security functions now spread across many departments and agencies.
SCIENCE AND DEMOCRACY
Judging the Science
Attempts at technocratic policymaking, writes Alexander Stern, often ignore the limitations of science and, in so doing, damage the scientific enterprise and its public credibility.
Plus: China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is key to meeting global climate objectives such as those being hammered out at this week’s COP27 meeting. But achieving China’s ambitious goals comes at a high social and political cost, as Ran RanYaqiu Wang, and Emery Roe discuss in their responses to Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro’s essay on Chinese climate governance.
📅 ONLINE EVENT: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29 📅
SCIENCE FICTION / REAL POLICY BOOK CLUB

John Scalzi’s short novel Lock In raises questions about the “real” world, accessibility and disability, public health funding, and much more. On Tuesday, November 29, join Future Tense and Issues in Science and Technology to discuss the story and its real-world implications.

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