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For over 20 years, ESIP meetings have brought together the most innovative thinkers and leaders around Earth observation data, thus forming a community dedicated to making Earth observations more discoverable, accessible and useful to researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and the public. The theme of this year’s meeting is Leading Innovation in Earth Science Data Frontiers.

Join is for the ESIP Meeting Highlights Webinar on Friday February 19th at 2 pm ET/11 am PT. Find connection info at https://www.esipfed.org/telecons.
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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Science and the US Government: Where does your contribution fit into the picture?

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  1. Overview.
  2. Minecraft USG: Questions that will be posed to the audience that you may choose to prepare for.
  3. Introducing our Provocateurs Steve and Arika.

1.  Overview.

This introductory tutorial provides a landscape sketch of how science and technology is incorporated in the US government through a combination of policy instruments, legal requirements, and structural constraints.  This tutorial is designed for individuals who have asked questions like “We know the science behind the increased frequency of wildfires: why isn’t our science more effectively incorporated into policy?”, "We know about the deleterious effects of certain known carcinogens in drinking water on human health: why can't do we something about it?", and “Our community has been advocating for the adoption of these technical standards for years: why can’t we accelerate standardization across the board?”  

Many of us champion paradigms like “actionable science”, “evidence-based policymaking”, "science-informed decision making", and “transdisciplinary thinking”. Making your science and technology matter by actively engaging fellow citizens, policy makers, and decision makers is undoubtedly part of the solution. However, one also needs to learn how to navigate the myriad landmarks in a complex science-technology-policy landscape so that those paradigms can be implemented through a blend of legally enforceable policy instruments, guidance documents, narratives, and messaging strategies.

This tutorial will cover topics including:  a brief history of NASA and ESIP, the structure of the US government, types of policy instruments, why science and technology are not the only drivers in policy, and a brief overview of selected US law that the ESIP community might care about.  The session will also recount how, in 2015, the ESIP Board contributed modifications to the language of a US Senate bill to promote crowdsourcing and citizen science, and how a tiny part of that language survived Congressional procedures and was ultimately signed into US law four years ago by President Obama in January 2017 just before he left office (Public Law 111-358 “America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010”).

2. Minecraft USG: Questions that will be posed to the audience that you may choose to prepare for.
The tutorial will include a "Minecraft US Government (USG)" exercise to create a hypothetical government entity.  The exercise comprises a sli.do Q&A and breakout groups. 
  • For the sli.do Q&A, you might want to think about how you would answer the following questions below:
  1. What is a pressing science / technology need that would benefit from policy formulation at some level of government (federal, state, tribal)?  (Brief answer, <= 40 characters)
  2. How could the need be met?  Options:  (1) A new government entity, (2) Enforceable policy to foster better coordination between existing entities, (3) Something else (Multiple choice question: select one) 
  3. Further elaborate on your answer in a sentence or two.
  • For your small breakout group discussion, this is the question your group will deliberate on:  "Thinking back to your answer about a pressing science/technology need:  what sort of policy instrument is required to fulfill your goal?  Why?"

3. Introducing our Provocateurs Steve and Arika.

Steve Young (Senior Business Consultant, Innovate!) and Arika Virapongse, Ph.D. (Principal Consultant, Middle Path EcoSolutions) are our Provocateurs for this tutorial. Steve is retired from the US EPA after 36 distinguished years of federal service across the USG. Arika has worked on various placed-based and virtual community challenges related to mobilization, governance, equity, and resilience. Steve and Arika have agreed to contribute their experience and perspectives by reflecting on participant responses to "Minecraft USG" and the Q&A sessions.

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avatar for Bill Teng

Bill Teng

avatar for Brian Wee

Brian Wee

Founder and Managing Director, Massive Connections, LLC
Transdisciplinary scientist invested in the use of environmental data and information for science, education, and decision-making for challenges at the nexus of global environmental change, natural resources, and society. Strategized and executed initiatives to engage the US Congress... Read More →

Wednesday January 27, 2021 11:00am - 12:30pm EST
Room 2