Congressional Science Policy Initiative

Our Mission

The Congressional Science Policy Initiative (CSPI) is a nonpartisan effort to facilitate the engagement of scientists, engineers, and technologists with Congressional offices in order to better inform public policy.

CSPI will seek to inform a diverse range of issues, including, but not limited to:

  • Benefits and risks of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and synthetic biology.
  • Value of scientific research and its role in national security and economic competitiveness.
  • Role of STEM graduate schools in producing more policy-oriented scientists.
  • Aspects of nuclear arms control and risks associated with nuclear weapons proliferation.

Our Approach

Educating Congress

We work with scientists who are part of our community to convey objective information into key Congressional hearings.

Cultivating a science knowledge-base

As Congressional offices seek an understanding of science and technology, we connect them with our community of experts committed to “letting the data talk.”

Building community

We are building a community of scientists, engineers, and technologists committed to serving as an evidence-based resource to policymakers.

Join Our Community to Educate Congress

By joining the FAS Congressional Science Policy Initiative (@FASCongress) — a network of scientists, engineers, and technologists — you will help build a community that educates lawmakers and their staff on urgent issues in science and technology.

Join Today

Our Team

Ali-Nouri-Headshot-2

Ali Nouri, Ph.D.

President
Federation of American Scientists

202-454-4690
Michael-Fisher-Headshot-2

Michael A. Fisher, Ph.D. 

Senior Fellow
Federation of American Scientists

202-454-4686

Stay Informed

For the latest news about US science and technology policy, subscribe to the CSPI Newsletter.

The Latest (11/8/19)

The public helps Congress question Mark Zuckerberg

The Big Issue

US action on research interference

The Archive

Genome editing, synthetic biology, & the bioeconomy

 

The CSPI Team in the News

A lot of what we’re seeing is the US government potentially re-evaluating the nature of fundamental research.”

– Michael A. Fisher, Senior Fellow, Federation of American Scientists, quoted in “FBI sees universities as more helpful in foreigner crackdown,” Times Higher Education, 11/13/19

Because of the immense power of emerging biotechnologies, those of us who are intimately involved with these advances must make a concerted effort to equip both policymakers and the public with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate this evolving landscape.”

– Mike Fisher, writing in “What does it mean to be alive?,” Science, 10/28/19

We have to patch this, but we also have to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

– Ali Nouri, President, Federation of American Scientists, quoted in “Peer pressure: 60 science groups call for end to Washington’s crackdown on foreign-born researchers,” South China Morning Post, 9/11/19

Just about every issue, including those we are still grappling with today, were dealt with at the time.”

– Ali Nouri, quoted in “Democrats may revive think tank that Gingrich killed,” E&E News, 5/14/19

Like the farmers, selected scientists should act as ambassadors on behalf of their fellow workers. They must engage with their elected officials on important issues such as federal research funding, science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, basing public policies on scientific evidence and holding the Executive Branch accountable when it dismisses scientific advice.

– Ali Nouri, writing in “US farmers can teach scientists advocacy,” Nature, 2/7/19

Scientists and engineers who are developing new technologies are well-positioned to think through tailored technical and institutional safeguards to prevent misuse. They should build bridges to the policy community to assess risks, develop proposed guidelines, and implement them in such a way as to foster, not impede, further innovation.

– Ali Nouri, writing with Shahram Seyedin-Noor, Founder and General Partner, Civilization Ventures, in “Synthetic biology: A call for a new culture of responsibility,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 12/7/18

The information encoded in these artificial genes is completely novel – it does not come from, nor is it significantly related to, information encoded by natural genes, and yet the end result is a living, functional microbe.

– Mike Fisher, quoted in “Enzyme designed entirely from scratch opens a world of biological possibility,” Singularity Hub, 1/31/18

Publications, Outreach, and Newsletter Archive

Michael A. Fisher, “What does it mean to be alive?,” Science, 11/1/19

A collaboratively derived international research agenda on legislative science advice,” Palgrave Communications, 9/17/19

Ali Nouri, “US farmers can teach scientists advocacy,” Nature, 2/5/19

Ali Nouri, “Synthetic biology: A call for a new culture of responsibility,” The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 12/7/18

Ali Nouri, “Synthetic biology and the new culture of responsibility,” SynBioBeta, 10/22/18

Response from US Federal Science Leadership, “Letter to the United States Research Community,” 9/30/19

Letter to US Federal Science Leadership, “Balancing US security and an open, collaborative scientific environment,” 9/6/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “In a tale of two Congressional visits, October’s hearing featuring testimony from Mark Zuckerberg was a more rigorous examination of Facebook compared to 2018.” 8/27/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “The House calls on DoD to disclose Cold War-era bioweapons program secrets,” 8/27/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “No substantial discussion of carbon pricing during Senate hearing on energy innovation,” 7/31/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Making sense of a Congressional clash over US greenhouse gas emissions,” 7/19/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “The National Science Foundation has banned its personnel from participating in ‘foreign government talent recruitment programs.’ | To defend against disinformation, Swedes are learning to think like scientists. Americans should, too.” 7/12/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “An algorithm decides that Amazon’s warehouse associates be fired | Antimicrobial resistance crisis and biodefense | Congress to tour national labs,” 6/28/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Federal science agencies and Congress place foreign-born researchers under the microscope | CRISPR-babies controversy | Patent-eligible discovery science,” 6/11/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Congress grapples with foreign interference in US science and technology,” 6/3/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Researchers’ personal stories demonstrate the contributions of foreign-born STEM experts to US science and technology,” 5/24/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Gain-of-function research on deadly bird flu virus | Protecting US science and technology competitiveness,” 5/10/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Impacts of climate change on disease | Facial recognition in law enforcement,” 5/3/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “US universities investigating the role of their researchers in the CRISPR baby controversy,” 4/19/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “US competitiveness, diversity in the sciences, and FBI investigations,” 4/12/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Science at NIH, NOAA, and NIST under the knife in 2020 budget proposal,” 4/5/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “National Science Foundation Budget Request (FY20),” 3/28/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Engineering Our Way to a Sustainable Bioeconomy,” 3/21/19

Congressional Science Policy Initiative Newsletter, “Maintaining US Leadership in Science and Technology,” 3/15/19

Letter to US Government, “The Shutdown Is Hurting Science,” 1/16/19

Science Policy in Cessnas

Above The Fray is a video podcast hosted by FAS President Dr. Ali Nouri. A licensed pilot, Dr. Nouri flies guests over American vistas while discussing important issues in science and technology policy.

For more conversations in Cessnas, visit our playlist.