Catalysts for Science Policy (CaSP) has three main goals.

  1. Educate graduate students about science policy and emphasize the importance of increasing scientist participation in science policy issues, both local and national.
  2. Increase graduate student awareness of various science policy careers and provide opportunities to help them become better candidates for these positions.
  3. Communicate relevant science topics to government and funding agencies, and to the non-scientist community in Madison.

Science policy is a broad field that requires a general understanding of science, but also how policies are established in the government, private and nonprofit sectors. There is a lack of understanding of what science policy is and how it affects both public policy and scientific research. In order to fulfill our goal of educating students about science policy, we host public seminars where invited speakers will present on various aspects of science policy. In addition, we wish to keep our student members updated on current science policy issues by holding meetings where we informally discuss these issues in a journal club setting. Being in the capital provides us with an amazing opportunity to work with senators and law makers. We hope to organize a relationship with the capital that affords graduate students the opportunity to meet policy makers and understand how policies involving science are managed and implemented from the policy makers’ perspective.

Chris Pickett, Director of Rescuing Biomedical Research, helping CaSP members brainstorm ways to present their pitch during his presentation/workshop, “A Day in the Life of a Science Policy Analyst.”

In order to increase the awareness of science policy as a career, several seminars with invited and local speakers will be organized during the year. Through these seminars the graduate student community will be exposed to different careers and jobs in different sectors: government, private and non-profit.

Science policy issues affect scientists and the general public alike. For this reason, we believe that it is important for the public to understand the value of research and science. To address this goal, we will reach out to the community and educate them on currently relevant science topics. Through activities geared toward the non-scientific community, both in the local neighborhoods and on the University campus, we hope to demonstrate why the research done by graduate students at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is important to the community at large. These activities will provide our members with experience communicating science topics to a general audience. Non-technical communication is a skill that is indispensable for scientists, especially those interested in science policy, where scientists frequently interact with a variety of non-scientific audiences.

Want to get involved or just learn more? Email us at casp.uw@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.