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.