Science Policy

SACNAS is committed to leveraging the knowledge we have garnered through 40 years of direct service activity to inform and influence public policies and governmental funding that will support the advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science. It is through this combination of direct service and policy work that SACNAS can have the greatest impact. 

Science Policy Defined

Science policy is an area of public policy usually concerned with the funding of science and the regulation of technology produced by scientific research. Science policy is the intersection between scientific research and public policy.

SACNAS’ Science Policy Goals

  • increase resources and opportunities that support our mission and goals to advance Chicanos and Native Americans in science
  • reduce barriers to accessing already existing resources
  • establish practices that support equity of access for Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans and other under-represented minorities

SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2014

SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2013

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SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2012

SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2011

SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2010

SACNAS Policy Updates & Activities

  • Comments on NSF Draft Concept Paper: Comments on the proposed changes by NSF in its Broadening Participation Programs: the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) and the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP), July 29, 2010.

General Science Policy Resources

SACNAS has collected selected materials as an introduction to key science policy issues related to the Hispanic/Chicano and Native American science community.

Getting Involved in SACNAS Science Policy Activities

There are a couple of current avenues for policy engagement:

  • Chapters - The local avenue is to get involved with your local SACNAS chapter (Don’t have one? Start one.). As Tip O’Neill said, "All politics is local." 
  • Cultivate Your Science Policy Understanding - A more global approach to become knowledgeable about science policy is to read the SACNAS policy updates and columns, especially including the source documents listed with those and, more generally, on the policy website. Join the AAAS and read the science policy e-updates that come with a membership, as well as the AAAS Science magazine when you are offline.

An important issue with SACNAS itself is that we are a community of scientists. Thus we advocate on behalf of science itself, and especially the strength caused by the inclusion of diversity of all kinds in science, but we do not advocate on behalf of political candidates or political issues not directly related to science. 

Science policy internships: For students, there are sometimes science intern possibilities at the state or local levels, e.g., with state science consortia and state high-tech business consortia or as the "science person" for your mayor or city council. Your university can help in finding these kinds of opportunities. Another route is through volunteering after learning about local needs in science. 

For Scientists Considering a Career in Science Policy

There is no one way to begin a career in science policy. Many scientists complete a PhD and then begin work on Capitol Hill for a committee. However, obtaining work on the Hill is extremely competitive. Most start out with some kind of fellowship, sponsored by a nonprofit organization like SACNAS, AAAS, ACS, etc., and possibly an internship prior to a fellowship. 

What is a Career in Science Policy Like?

A science policy career is fast-paced and exciting. The area of science policy is also less crowded than other hot-button policy arenas. However, science and science policy are essential for the nation, and this will become an increasingly important area.

How does/can science policy impact my science education/career, as a science student or science professional?
One word. Funding. At every level. In the US, science policy has typically focused on funding the supply of scientists in the pipeline (funding scholarships, fellowships, postdocs, etc.) and maintenance of science (grants for research).

To be optimally effective in science policy, one must know about postgraduate science itself (at least some). Science policy can’t really be learned from books and writings, it is more of a contact sport. The optimal route is spending a year in a AAAS Science Policy Fellowship or equivalent, perhaps preceded by an internship year, as described above.