Introduction to the Congressional Science Policy Initiative

Overview

The Congressional Science Policy Initiative (CSPI) is a nonpartisan effort to facilitate the engagement of scientists, engineers, technologists, and other experts with Congress to help produce evidence-based public policy.
The CSPI team enriches Congressional hearings with scientific expertise from our network and provides technical assistance with legislation to inform policymakers about the most pressing scientific issues.

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The need for CSPI

Out of all of the Members of the 117th Congress, there is only a small fraction who have experience in a field related to science and technology. As the number of staff and technical advisors available to Members of Congress has been reduced over time, lawmakers have limited bandwidth for engaging on complex scientific topics. This makes it more difficult for Members of Congress and their staff to effectively respond to issues related to science and technology.

The CSPI process

The CSPI team tracks Congressional activity by monitoring House and Senate Committee schedules. When key hearings on scientific issues are announced, the team solicits the CSPI community for questions and ideas that Members of Congress could raise during the hearings.
Experts send in their feedback and insights in advance of the hearings, and this information is thoroughly researched and sourced, formatted into hearing questions, and posted on our publicly-available hearing resource webpages.
The CSPI team then provides these resource pages, including suggested hearing questions, to the relevant Congressional staff in the Committee Members’ offices. Members often raise our experts’ questions, in one form or another, during Congressional hearings, and our resources help promote a rich discussion of the most pressing scientific issues, and the development of more sound public policy.

Our results

CSPI has provided resources for dozens of hearings and provided hundreds of suggested questions to Members of Congress and their staffs. These questions are sourced from a community of over 900 members, more than 80 percent of whom are experts in their fields. Questions from the CSPI community represent vital scientific perspectives and advance the formulation of sensible, data-driven public policy.

The Congressional Science Policy Initiative Team

Ali Nouri, Project Director

Ali Nouri, PhD

CSPI Lead & FAS President

Former Senate Legislative Director

Virologist & molecular biologist

@AliNouriPhD

fisher 2 cspi shot

Michael A. Fisher, PhD

CSPI Co-Lead & FAS Senior Fellow

Former campaign Field Director

Synthetic biologist & protein engineer

@mykfish

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Lindsay Milliken

CSPI Teammate & FAS Research Assistant

Former government relations staffer

Political science & physics

@LK_Milliken

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Kathryn Kohn, MA

CSPI Teammate & FAS Comms Manager

Former campaign Comms Director

Political theory & communications

@kathrwn

Contact the Congressional Science Policy Initiative at sciencepolicy@fas.org.