Demystifying Science Communication, Policy, and Decision-making: Experiences of Scientist-practitioners

Wednesday, August 7, 2013: 8:00 AM-10:00 AM
101C, Minneapolis Convention Center
Mari-Vaughn V. Johnson, USDA-NRCS
Faith Kearns, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes
Ann Bartuska, USDA Research, Education and Economics
Scientific training develops a distinctive logical and inquisitive approach to the world. Scientists who have moved out of the academic research realm are often reminded by themselves or their colleagues that they “aren’t real scientists anymore.” On the contrary, they are still scientists, and these increasingly common scientist-practitioners have valuable insights, particularly about the ever elusive “science-policy” interface. We need to establish and develop clear linkages between scientist-researchers and scientist-practitioners in order to leverage roles, skills, and understanding across boundaries to promote science-based decision making. This session will explore cross-cutting experiences from scientist-practitioners who have found their way out of the field and away from the bench, who still identify as scientists, but who now practice in the policy and decision making process. Presenters will share their professional experiences with graduate students interested in careers in practice, and academic researchers interested in the challenge of integrating the needs of policy and decision makers into their science. This session will expand the participant’s sense of what it means to be a scientist and allow science-practitioners and research scientists to learn from each other’s successes and failures and in the process make future interactions with policymakers more meaningful and successful. Participants will hear from scientists with their feet firmly planted in the policy arena, engendering a more robust understanding of the science-policy nexus and enhancing the ability of research scientists to better direct and leverage their research to the benefit of policy development.
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Sylvia Fallon, Natural Resources Defense Council
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Emily Therese Cloyd, US Global Change Research Program National Coordination Office
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Brian Wee, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.)
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Kevin Thuesen, City of Austin/Wildland Conservation Division
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