Science. Policy. Service. Progress.
The Congressional Science Policy Initiative (CSPI) is a nonpartisan effort to facilitate the engagement of scientists, engineers, technologists, and other experts with the US Legislative Branch to help produce evidence-based public policy.
If you have expertise in a data-driven discipline, join hundreds of specialists who are already taking action to provide critical information to Congress as part of the CSPI community.
How the CSPI community engages with lawmakers and contributes to evidence-based public policy
Enriching Congressional hearings with science
Senate and House Committee hearings are forums where Members of Congress question witnesses, learn about science and technology, conduct oversight of both the executive branch and corporate practices, and develop policy ideas.
The CSPI team tracks Legislative Branch activity, and when key hearings are announced, the team solicits the CSPI community for questions and ideas that Members of Congress could raise during the hearing. This data-driven information is then communicated to Congress for use in the hearings, promoting a rich discussion of the issues. For a step-by-step guide on how you and your expert community can inform Congressional hearings, click here.
Technical assistance on pieces of legislation
When Congressional offices or Committees are developing legislation and invite CSPI to provide feedback, we crowdsource evidence-based technical assistance from the CSPI community and communicate the feedback to Congress.
The incorporation of data-driven solutions into Legislative Branch bills strengthens US public policy.
Rapid response to crises such as COVID-19
CSPI is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on engaging with coronavirus-related hearings, convening infectious disease experts to brief lawmakers, countering misinformation, answering questions from and curating a knowledge-base for policymakers and the public, and executing public service announcement campaigns.
CSPI also provides expertise to the press to further communicate accurate information to both policymakers and the public.
Councils of scientists and engineers for Congress
Members of Congress and their staffs are generalists, not specialists, and Legislative Branch science and technology resources are limited. So CSPI is organizing councils of experts to advise Senators and Representatives on science and technology.
We (i) execute impromptu matchmaking of specialists with policymakers, (ii) coordinate the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force, and (iii) manage and staff the Science Council we launched in collaboration with Congressman Bill Foster. To review seven Science Policy Snapshots expanding upon scientific exchanges between the Congressman and his Science Council, click here.
Snapshot of CSPI Community Impacts
Researchers in the CSPI community with expertise in monoclonal antibody treatments briefed Representative Bill Foster on their potential for countering COVID-19, providing Congress with a realistic evaluation of the status and needs of the biologics’ development and manufacturing.
CSPI was invited to provide technical assistance on H.R. 4373 – the Engineering Biology Research and Development Act of 2019 – and the feedback contributed by experts in the CSPI community helped the bipartisan bill be passed unanimously by the House of Representatives.
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden shared the assessment of a scientist in the CSPI community during his opening remarks in a hearing, demonstrating the high value of foreign-born researchers and international collaborations to the US research enterprise to Members of Congress.
A collaboration between CSPI, the National Science Policy Network, GovLab, and Accenture, Ask a Scientist has mobilized hundreds of researchers to provide evidence-based responses to thousands of the public’s questions about COVID-19, as well as serving the populations of New Jersey and Alabama.
The Congressional Science Policy Initiative Team
CSPI Teammate & FAS Intern
Former intern at the ICBM Information Project
International affairs & nonproliferation / terrorism