Friends and Colleagues,
In today’s political climate in Washington, it is sometimes hard to believe that change is possible. Yet, at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), we know firsthand that progress happens when the science community has a seat at the policymaking table. At our core, we believe that when passionate advocates join forces and share a commitment to ongoing learning, adaptation, and a drive toward action – science and technology progress can both solve the toughest challenges and uncover new ways to deliver the greatest impact.
In 2023, we remained steadfast in our ability to spur collective action. FAS supported our federal partners on the most significant investments in science and technology in decades with the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act (CHIPS) and the Inflation Reduction Act. Our Talent Hub team placed 71 Impact Fellows on tours of service in government and secured a first-of-its-kind partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to place 35 Impact Fellows in key positions within USDA over the next five years. Our expert network published 47 actionable policy memos through our Day One Project platform and drove impact by working with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to launch the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure (ARPA-I). And our renowned Nuclear Information Project continues to inform the public and challenge assumptions about nuclear weapons arsenals and trends with record breaking public attention. I hope you’ll read more about all of our wins in this year’s FAS Impact Report.
FAS remains focused on honoring our 80-year legacy as a leading voice on global risk while seeking out new policy areas and domains that advance and support science and technology priorities. To support this new era for FAS, we completed a full rebrand—modernizing our look and retelling our story—and rolled out organization-wide strategic goals to drive and define the impact we seek to instill across government. Together, we focus on more than progress for its own sake—we intentionally create the systems and paradigms that make such progress sustainable and tangible.
We have continued to build our team and expertise, and with that growth we are inspired by the caliber of our new teammates. We also remain committed to fulfilling our expectations on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) and continue to advocate for stronger commitments to social equality with all of our partners.
It is impossible for me to fit the entire year’s successes into a single letter, but I hope our annual report brings my update to life.
Thank you for your continued support,
Dan Correa, FAS CEO
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
FAS is committed—both in principle and in practice—to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all individuals interested in addressing contemporary issues where science, technology, and innovation policy can deliver dramatic progress.
In 2023, FAS expanded its DEIB strategy beyond its initial pledge to:
- Conduct a first-of-its-kind cultural audit
- Implement changes to create transparent hiring and financial practices
- Produce accountability mechanisms to track progress
Much like our work advancing policy change, FAS approaches the mission of infusing DEIB principles into our organizational culture and the importance of broadening our team’s perspectives with urgency. We also recognize that as a science organization with national reach, we can model forward-thinking approaches to these issues that others can emulate. We acknowledge that we still have a long way to go before claiming success, but FAS is committed to this journey for the long run.
Policy Entrepreneurship in Action
For several years, FAS has been evangelizing the power of policy entrepreneurship to galvanize policy change, helping an entire community of experts and practitioners embrace the tools, mindsets and networks needed to get results. The power of policy entrepreneurship is two-fold:
- It encourages those with lived-experience and expertise to champion the still-underappreciated ways in which science and technology are central to policy solutions.
- Time and again, it yields tangible policy change.
In FY23, FAS advanced policy entrepreneurship across all of its core issue domains by convening change agents, crafting policy memos, curating policy ideas, and seeding countless actionable policy ideas through policy entrepreneurship. Below are just some of our highlights over the past year.
Championing Critical Funding across the Science and Technology (S&T) Ecosystem—FY23 Omnibus Spending Bill
Public investments in science and technology have declined precipitously since the Cold War, when two percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) went to research and development (R&D). With estimates of R&D investment currently below one percent of GDP and challenges from peer competitors like China threatening U.S. leadership in emerging technologies, FAS advocates for strong investments in critical and emerging technologies as well as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to maintain America’s edge in innovation.
In December 2022, President Biden signed the FY23 Omnibus appropriations package into law, funding a broad range of new science and technology priorities. This funding will strengthen our country’s ability to invest in better science and technology education, stay globally competitive and ensure that innovation opportunities are available across the country. The bill included provisions that stemmed from a number of ideas that FAS staff and Day One Project contributors helped seed, including:
- A moonshot platform for education R&D. FAS co-leads the Alliance for Learning Innovation (ALI) coalition, bringing together education nonprofits, philanthropy, and the private sector to advocate boosting investment in research to transform K–12 student outcomes. In FY23, ALI championed the inclusion in the Omnibus of a $30 million pilot program to establish a National Center for Advanced Development in Education (NCADE), a new platform for transformative research in education (including several ideas outlined in Day One Project memos). NCADE represents a true milestone for the education community which has been calling for a moonshot education R&D platform for more than a decade.
- Initial appropriations of $3.2 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure (ARPA-I), which will help USDOT build an ambitious moonshot research agenda to address stubborn challenges across transportation, safety, equity, and more. The ARPA-I concept, refined in a 2020 Day One Project USDOT transition workshop, was first authorized in the infrastructure package. FAS is helping USDOT with initial agenda-setting for this transformative research agenda.
- An investment of $500 million for Regional Tech Hubs, a major downpayment to fund planning for a nationwide network of regional innovation clusters that expand U.S. innovation capacity in key technology areas. The $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge inspired the design of the Tech Hubs; Day One Project authors contributed to this initiative and repeatedly made the case for regional technology hubs. As part of a multi-organization campaign for Omnibus appropriations, our team undertook targeted outreach to more than 30 entrepreneurial ecosystem groups and influential economic actors across 10 strategically important states.
Reversing Megafire through Science and Data
Against a backdrop of the growing scourge of megafires, FAS has helped to put wildfires on the policy agenda in a bipartisan way that would have seemed impossible only a year ago. FAS organized more than 30 experts to contribute actionable policy ideas that have been shared directly with the Congressionally-mandated Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. Through this effort, we are advancing our goal of helping reduce the risks of catastrophic uncontrolled fires and protect people from the health risks of wildfire smoke while promoting beneficial controlled fire to improve ecosystem health. FAS policy recommendations influenced recommendations in the Commission’s report to Congress to guide a legislative implementation strategy which has included $1.6 billion in appropriations requests for smoke and public health.
Addressing Inequities in Medical Devices
The COVID-19 public health emergency revealed deep disparities in medical device use, specifically with pulse oximeters—devices widely used to measure oxygen saturation in blood. Medical researchers and policymakers had overlooked this issue for years until the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a large disparity in the diagnosis and treatment of severe respiratory conditions in Black and Brown communities. Through policy entrepreneurship, FAS identified an opportunity on a previously under-examined health policy issue and achieved two major wins.
First, FAS brought together more than 60 stakeholders to highlight policy opportunities to address racial bias in pulse oximeters and to cultivate a comprehensive strategy to address biases and inequities in medical innovation from industry to philanthropy and government by hosting an in-person Forum on Bias in Pulse Oximetry in November 2022.
Second, recognizing the importance of continuing the conversation on disparate impacts of technology and the COVID-19 pandemic on underrepresented communities, FAS developed a research and policy agenda for near-term mitigation of inequities in pulse oximetry and other medical technologies as well as the long-term solutions from the Bias in Pulse Oximetry Forum. FAS’ research and convening on this issue prompted the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)—a major health agency within the U.S. government—to evaluate the use of all pulse oximeters (~50 types) and to understand the impact of the technologies on the more than nine million patients served by the VHA system.
Empowering Expert Talent to Drive Impact Through Government Service
An effective and innovative federal government cannot exist without access to diverse scientific and technical experts to help solve large-scale challenges that impact the public. Yet, too often, the federal government struggles to identify and recruit the expertise needed and to navigate the flexible hiring authorities appropriate for expert tours of service. To support government agency partners, FAS created the Talent Hub to find the best and brightest individuals interested in federal tours of service and provide the needed technical assistance to place them in high-impact roles.
In FY23, the Talent Hub team placed 71 Impact Fellows in government tours of service and built programming to train and equip these fellows with the skills necessary to effectively deliver on the agency’s mission. Below are a few highlights of FAS’s talent innovation model in action.
Delivering science and technical talent to strengthen the capacity of USDA
Climate change diminishes land and water resources, reducing agricultural productivity and leading to conflict over scarce resources. To blunt the effects of climate on our food systems, the government needs experts fast.
FAS’s success in delivering highly qualified scientific and technical talent shaped by agencies’ needs resulted in our greatest success to date: a partnership with USDA to place 35 Impact Fellows within the department over the next five years to build an efficient, resilient, and sustainable food supply chain.
Helping to Create the First U.S. National Nature Assessment
Following the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt in November 2022, the U.S. government released a Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap, the first U.S. government strategy developed to scale up nature-based solutions. Nature-based solutions combat climate change at lower costs than traditional infrastructure. To contribute to governmental expertise and implement policy within this area, FAS placed a fellow inside the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in 2021 to design, coordinate, and implement this key Biden administration initiative.
Heather Tallis, an Impact Fellow serving at OSTP for the last two years, helped to establish the National Nature Assessment. This new effort of the U.S. Global Change Research Program will assess the status, trends and future projections regarding the health of U.S. lands, waters, and wildlife and the benefits they provide to the economy, climate mitigation and adaptation, equity, health and national security. In her role Heather co-chaired the interagency process of the Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap.
Within the Executive Office of the President (EOP), she generated the idea for the Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap with EOP colleagues, advocated to get it included in an executive order, and co-led a government-wide effort across 15 agencies to implement the first National Nature Assessment. This comprehensive effort, led by Heather, resulted in an important new tool for the U.S. government to forecast how nature might change and what those changes may mean for the economy and the lives of Americans.
Empowering New Voices to Start Their career in Nuclear Weapons Field
FAS launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons (NVNW) Fellowship in the summer of 2023. The Fellowship was specifically created to address the high barriers to entry into the nuclear field by providing young nuclear scholars with financial support, mentorship, and opportunities for publication. During the four-month pilot program, the four inaugural NVNW fellows worked with a senior academic or policy expert outside of FAS to co-author research projects that provide a creative perspective on rethinking nuclear deterrence policy. Through the NVNW program, FAS is fostering the next generation of talent in the nuclear field, which is critical as nuclear tensions continue to rise and as experienced talent exits the field.
Developing Leaders with Cross-Sector Knowledge and Bolstering the DOE Pipeline for the Clean Energy Transition
Investing in a robust talent pipeline is critical at the Department of Energy (DOE), where roughly four percent of DOE employees are under 30. Building this pipeline is crucial for the clean energy transition that’s already underway—not only for not the federal government, but for the entire ecosystem. To meet clean energy deployment estimates across the country, clean energy jobs will need to increase threefold by 2025 and almost sixfold by 2030.
FAS is taking a multifaceted approach to supporting the clean energy talent pipeline. Following the publication of our report, FAS hosted a workshop with internal talent and human capital champions to share recommendations for how DOE can strengthen its recruitment of technical experts while retaining and diversifying the skills of its existing workforce. FAS is now engaging with various DOE program offices to execute on those recommendations, including leading a communications effort to profile successful DOE innovators while continuing to build sustainable pathways for onboarding technical talent. Last year, FAS expanded our DOE fellowships in a partnership with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) to recruit and place an initial cohort of fellows funded by DOE into DOE program offices. Building on this initial success, DOE contracted with FAS to recruit mid- to senior-level career technical talent to implement a broad range of ambitious priorities to stimulate a clean energy transition.
Enhancing Government’s Capacity to Implement
FAS experts frequently collaborate with stakeholders in Congress and the executive branch to help solve complex science and technology policy challenges that align with government priorities and needs. In FY23, FAS’s unique ability to coordinate actors across the legislative and executive branches and facilitate crucial discourse and planning efforts across government agencies yielded tangible successes as described below.
Accelerating Technology Deployment through Flexible Financial Mechanisms to Maximize Spending from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
Promising technologies and opportunities for innovation exist across health, clean energy, and other domains but often lack an existing market—or guarantee of a future market—to support their creation and commercialization. The federal government can play a unique role in signaling and even guaranteeing demand for these solutions, including using its power as a buyer.
FAS worked with the DOE front office to diffuse flexible financial mechanisms to support and accelerate the deployment of novel clean energy technologies that lower greenhouse gas emissions, while supporting the implementation of BIL and IRA. FAS compiled a set of policy recommendations for how DOE could leverage its Other Transactions Authority (OTA) to accelerate commercialization and scale high-impact clean energy technologies. FAS recommended that DOE use its other transaction authority by establishing a formal internal process that encourages the formation of consortia to promote efficiency and collaboration across technology areas, while still appropriately mitigating risk.
These recommendations prompted DOE to release informed guidance in September 2023 for how program offices and leaders across the agency can leverage other transactions to catalyze demand for clean energy. DOE continues to engage FAS in ongoing discussions on deploying OTAs and other flexible financial mechanisms to stimulate demand and accelerate deployment of promising technologies.
Creating stronger infrastructure through innovation
The United States faces multiple challenges in using innovation to not only deliver transportation infrastructure that is more resilient against climate change, but also to deliver on the clean energy transition and advance equity for communities that have historically been excluded from decision-making on these projects. To address these challenges, in November 2021 Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which included $550 billion in new funding for dozens of new programs across the USDOT.
The bill created the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure (ARPA-I) and historic investments in America’s roads and bridges. ARPA-I’s mission is to unlock the full potential of public and private innovation ecosystems to improve U.S. infrastructure by accelerating climate game-changers across the entire U.S. R&D ecosystem. Since its authorization, USDOT has invited FAS to use our expertise to scope advanced research priorities across diverse infrastructure topics where targeted research can yield innovative new infrastructure technologies, materials, systems, capabilities, or processes through ARPA-I.
For example, this year FAS has engaged more than 160 experts in ARPA-I program idea generation and created 50 wireframes for ARPA-I’s initial set of programs, leading to a powerful coalition of stakeholders and laying a strong foundation for the potential that ARPA-I can achieve as it evolves. ARPA-I’s authorization and subsequent initial appropriation in December 2022 provides an opportunity to tackle monumental challenges across transportation and infrastructure through breakthrough innovation. FAS’s programming is helping shape the future of the ARPA-I office.
Providing Government with the Tools to Assess Risks in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Biosecurity
With increased warnings that AI may support the development of chemical and biological weapons, the federal government must act to protect the public from malicious actors. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced the Artificial Intelligence and Biosecurity Risk Assessment Act and the Strategy for Public Health Preparedness and Response to Artificial Intelligence Threats Act with FAS’s technical assistance. These two pieces of legislation empower the federal government to better understand public health security risks associated with AI by directing the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct comprehensive risk assessments of advances in AI.
Helping International STEM Students and Workers in the United States
Sixty percent of computer science PhDs and nearly 50% of STEM PhDs are foreign born, and these workers have contributed to America’s continuing science and technological leadership. FAS has worked across the legislative and executive branches of government to keep the best and brightest science and technology minds in the United States.
In the legislative branch, interest in keeping talented scientific and technical talent in the United States has increased as a natural security concern. Recognizing the importance of this moment, FAS provided technical assistance to the offices of Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL11) and Mike Lawler (R-NY17) in introducing the Keep STEM Talent Act of 2023, a bill that would make it easier for international students with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the United States after graduation.
An executive branch rule states that most nonimmigrants (i.e., non-green card holders) must renew visas outside the United States at an American embassy or consulate overseas. This rule requires students and workers to leave the United States during school or employment and bear the costs of going back to their country of origin; it also creates an administrative burden for consular officers who have heavy caseloads. FAS experts published a policy document that provides specific recommendations for how to reinstate domestic visa renewal. The State Department implemented some of these recommendations through a pilot program. This pilot program, the first step to solving this challenge, allows high-skilled immigrants to renew their work visas in the United States rather than having to travel to their home country to do so.
Driving Accountability through Expert Analysis
FAS has a legacy of pursuing a vision of eradicating the global risks that threaten human civilization. To achieve this vision, boosting the collective understanding of real and perceived threats is a critical public good. FAS remains committed to enhancing transparency around nuclear risks, which underpins informed debate and provide a means of defusing risks. Here are a few examples of FAS’s work to drive accountability through expert analysis.
Enhancing transparency around nuclear risks
Since 2003, the Nuclear Information Project (NIP) team at FAS has published the most comprehensive and accurate nuclear weapon transparency information. Three major wins this year include:
- FAS discovered increasing evidence that the U.S. Air Force’s nuclear mission may be returning to UK soil for the first time in 15 years. Based on satellite imagery and budgetary documents, the NIP team concluded that the United States is currently preparing the infrastructure at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath in the UK to potentially receive nuclear weapons in the future. This discovery was picked up by national and local news outlets and led to protests at Lakenheath, a UK National Day of Action against nuclear weapons, and members of parliament writing op-eds on the topic and asking questions in parliament.
- Following Putin’s March 2023 announcement about Russia’s intent to establish a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-style nuclear sharing relationship with Belarus, the Nuclear Information Project team published several investigations identifying the most likely candidate bases for Belarus’s new “nuclear sharing” mission. The NIP team also explored the knowns and unknowns surrounding Putin’s March 2023 statement and continuously analyzed satellite imagery for updates regarding the claimed deployment of these nuclear weapons. These assessments contributed timely and thorough analyses to the ongoing debate about the strategic implications and costs of this type of nuclear-sharing arrangement.
- Over the past year, the Nuclear Information Project team contributed chapters about global nuclear forces to both the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor and the annual SIPRI Yearbook. The former was used to inform state policy during the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the latter was translated into nearly a dozen languages and covered in more than 6,000 articles and broadcasts worldwide. Together, these two contributions by our team constituted some of the most widely-sourced and heavily-cited publications about global nuclear forces over the past year.
Converting New Ideas into Action through Fiscal Sponsorship
Recognizing that the best ideas often need a place to incubate, FAS hosts a fiscal sponsorship program that supports burgeoning entrepreneurs in science and technology policy. FAS provides sponsorship and support to give important ideas life, forge new initiatives, and expand impact in the science community. Below is just one example of the power of our fiscal sponsorship in action.
FLi Sci: Supporting young scholars’ career paths in science
In FY23, FAS supported the fiscal sponsorship of FLi Sci, an education nonprofit initiative that builds pipelines for high school and college students who are first-generation college students or from low-income backgrounds and sets them up for success navigating a scientific career.
In FY23, FLi Sci had a breakthrough year, making significant strides in its effort to change the face of science. The program:
- Expanded its reach, recruiting 20 FLi Sci Scholars from seven states, with over 95% identifying as Black or Hispanic and 80% as female or nonbinary.
- Established financial stability, growing program revenue by about 407% (from ~$65,000 to $330,000) in FY23.
- Increased program offerings, launching two more programs focused on psychology and data science research.
What’s Next for FAS
At FAS, we are proud of our impact and realize there is still more to be done. While we are working to expand the breadth and depth of our work above, we also see three major opportunities for FAS in the next fiscal year.
Expanding Government’s Capacity
The U.S. government is critical to solving the largest problems of the 21st century. While significant progress has been made, institutional complexity challenges the government’s ability to quickly innovate and deliver on its mission. Lackluster incentives, bureaucratic bottlenecks, and the lack of feedback loops slow progress and hinder capacity building across four key areas: financial mechanisms, evidence, talent, and culture. This work is especially important in an election year where either a second term or new administration will bring new people and ideas to Washington, DC, and the government’s ability to execute these ideas hinges on its capacity.
FAS is in a unique position to support the federal government in building federal capacity. Since delivering 100 implementation-ready policy proposals for the 2020 presidential transition, FAS has grown and matured, expanding our capabilities as an organization. We are working to diagnose key science and technology policy issues ripe for bipartisan innovation and support. As we move forward with our findings, FAS will use our Day One platform to publicize grand challenges in this space and gather the best ideas from experts across the country on how best to solve these issues.
Mitigating Global Risk
FAS was founded to address the new, human-created nuclear danger that threatened global extinction. Today, in a world vastly more complicated than the one into which nuclear weapons were introduced, FAS supports the development and execution of sound public policy based on proven and effective technical skills to improve the human condition and, increasingly, to reduce global risks.
FAS’s new Global Risk program is focused on both the promise and peril posed by evolving AI capabilities in the nuclear landscape and beyond. Dedicated to reducing nuclear dangers and ensuring that qualified technical experts are integral parts of the policy process, FAS seeks to advance its work in support of U.S. and global security at the intersection between nuclear weapons, AI, and global risk. By drawing on technical experts, engaging the policy community, convening across multiple skill sets and sectors, and developing joint projects and collaborations with the government, FAS seeks to drive positive policy outcomes and shape the security landscape for the better.
Deepening Knowledge of Emerging Technologies across All Branches of Government
AI’s rapid evolution, combined with a lack of understanding of how it works, makes today’s policy decisions incredibly important but fraught with misconceptions. This is a pivotal moment, and FAS seeks to engage, educate, and inspire congressional staff, executive branch personnel, military decision makers, and state lawmakers on AI’s substantial potential—and risks. Our mission is to translate this transformative technology for lawmakers by advancing impactful policy development and promoting positive and productive discourse.
FAS finds itself in an unprecedented position to directly inform and influence crucial decisions that will shape AI governance. Our nonpartisan expertise and ability to move rapidly have made us the go-to resource for members of Congress across party lines when they require technical advice on AI-related issues. In the 118th Congress, FAS’s AI team has provided support on six vital AI bills and received requests for assistance and briefings on AI-related topics from over 40 congressional offices.
We recognize that this momentum offers FAS a unique opportunity to not only continue guiding policymakers with much-needed perspectives but also strive for actionable and equitable policy change that addresses the challenges linked with advancements in artificial intelligence.
At FAS, we accomplish our work by practicing four values that animate our theory of change: Impact Driven, Customer Focused, Entrepreneurial, and Growth Oriented. Our incredible staff lives and breathes these values in their daily work, and we’re honored to have them tell you why they are so important for them.
“I see our team embody our ‘Impact Driven‘ value every day as we work not only in service of those who bring science and tech into the public domain, but also those for whom their innovations impact. We relentlessly seek to identify, understand, and fill the gaps between our nation’s reality and our collective ambition for a better future.”
“For me, customer focused work at FAS means understanding our audience. How are they helped with our policy analysis? What issues do they care about and want to see advanced in science and technology policy? In order to have the greatest impact, I strive to understand what is the why for our customers in government and philanthropy in shaping the policy conversation.”
“Securing equitable health and well-being for Americans requires navigating a complex continuum of upstream (the social determinants of health) and downstream (how healthcare is delivered) factors while also building a big tent of stakeholders working on all aspects of health security. Embodying an entrepreneurial mindset is essential as I’ve tackled thorny health topics that lack a constituency organizing around high-impact policy solutions at the federal level – like racism in medical technologies and climate change’s impact on human health – with a strong commitment that systemic change is possible if the right people are mobilized to act.”
“Being growth-oriented means being curious and motivated to learn while intentionally cultivating an environment where others can do the same.”
Fundraising and Development
The Federation of American Scientists continued our fundraising momentum from FY22 into FY23, securing $51 million in new commitments across 47 total awards and 31 unique funders, representing a 46% increase in funding allocations from last year. These investments by FAS’s philanthropic and agency partners reflect a sustained focus by FAS staff to continue diversifying and expanding our funding portfolio while simultaneously deepening our connections with existing partners and positioning FAS as an indispensable voice for evidence-based, scientifically-driven policy analysis and research.
The majority of the funding FAS receives (99.6%) is restricted for the use of specific projects and initiatives, while unrestricted funding (which only accounts for 0.04% of funding) bolsters the organization’s operational capacity.
The critical work being done at FAS would not be possible without the generous support of its philanthropic partners who continue to invest in the organization’s vision for the future.
When properly harnessed, science, technology, and innovation can greatly benefit society. The challenge, however, is that the U.S. governments often struggle to capitalize on these sources of ideas, evidence, and experience to drive effective policy and governance. FAS exists to change that dynamic.
Founded in 1945, FAS envisions a world where cutting-edge science, technology, ideas and talent are deployed to solve the biggest challenges of our time. We embed science, technology, innovation, and experience into government and public discourse in order to build a healthy, safe, prosperous and equitable society.
Message from the CEO
Friends & Colleagues,
Most of the ideas people write down in Washington fail to inspire action. Yet there is nothing immutable about the status quo. At the Federation of American Scientists, we are obsessed with outcomes, not just the myriad ways that science and technology can make the world a better place, but finding new and better ways to deliver on that vision.
And in 2022, deliver we did. Our team helped inspire a critical compromise that made the generational downpayment in American science of the CHIPS and Science Act happen. Our Talent Hub placed 52 expert fellows in the federal government to deliver on the promises of evidence-based, expert-backed policy. Our policy leaders have published 200+ implementation-ready policy memos, and continue to drive their successful implementation, like the newly funded Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H). Our renowned Nuclear Information Project broke readership records and kept the public informed on nuclear developments in Eastern Europe and elsewhere at home and abroad. I hope you’ll read more about all of our wins in this year’s FAS Impact Report.
This year was my first full year as CEO of the Federation of American Scientists. I spent much of that time building towards a vision that honors nearly 80 years of impact while growing in new domains and new ways. In this work, I am propelled by the sheer force of our team’s seemingly never-ending optimism. There is always someone at FAS obsessing about policy, process, and progress. From project directors, to research associates, to fellows, and to interns, everyone at FAS has a hunger to do good in the world.
Our team has doubled since last year, and that growth has significantly increased FAS’ caliber. Some organizations have extensive expertise on a topic or deep proficiency in an approach. In a growing range of policy topics, we have both. Our new teammates bring proficiency and experience that strengthen our policy portfolio, widen our capacity for change, and allows us to deliver on our theory of policy entrepreneurship. We are lucky that such deeply motivated and talented individuals seek out FAS to hone their eagerness into a disciplined edge to lead future policy leaders and policy efforts.
And as our team has grown, so have our efforts to build an inclusive and diverse workforce. With support from our newly established DEI Committee, we have instituted a set of equitable hiring processes for Team FAS and our Impact Fellowship placements. We are exceeding our commitments to gender equality for featured speakers on panels. And, we are formulating stronger commitments to promote racial equity through our internal hiring processes as well as our policy development and implementation strategy. However, we are at the early stages of this journey, and approach our DEI strategy with humility and an awareness of the critical work that still needs to be done.
It is impossible for me to fit the entire year’s successes into a single letter, but I hope our annual report brings my update to life.
Thank you for your continued support,
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
FAS is committed–both in principle and in practice–to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all individuals interested in addressing contemporary issues where science, technology, and innovation policy can deliver dramatic progress.
In 2022, FAS has expanded its DEI strategy beyond its initial pledge to:
- Include commitments to reduce bias and improve accessibility in our hiring practices
- Offer equitable employee pay and policies
- Ensure our board and staff reflect a diversity of accessibility status, age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, marital status, military service status, national origin, parental status, physical appearance, race, religion, socioeconomic status, sex, or sexual orientation
Much like our work advancing policy change, FAS approaches the mission of infusing DEI principles into our organizational culture and the importance of broadening our team’s perspectives with urgency. We also recognize that as a science organization with national reach, we can model forward-thinking approaches to these issues that others can emulate. We acknowledge that we still have a long way to go before claiming success, but FAS is committed to this journey for the long run.
The Social Innovation team grew its reach across every aspect of its work, yielding high-impact legislative wins in education R&D policy, solving some of the most critical science and technology policy issues with talent through quadrupling the size of its Impact Fellowship program, and generating novel STEM education policy ideas positioned for impact.
Bolstering the Federal Workforce and Catalyzing Action through the Talent Hub
Less than two years ago, we created the Talent Hub to help federal agencies recruit world-class experts and address high-priority science and technology initiatives. Using established hiring mechanisms, the Talent Hub places FAS Impact Fellows selected by federal agencies into critical roles identified and scoped by agency leaders. The Impact Fellowship has quickly become an indispensable pathway for accomplished experts to undertake a short-term tour of public service.
The Talent Hub has grown explosively in an effort to meet surging agency demand. This year, FAS selected and placed 43 Impact Fellows in 16 different offices across 11 federal agencies. Fellows’ specializations have thus far included wildfire mitigation, cybersecurity in education, and environmental sustainability in federal supply chains. Thanks to the dozens of additional professional development sessions that FAS has provided, the breadth and depth of their work continues to grow. For example, we have recruited policymakers to teach the Fellows how to maximize their tours of service, and created Impact Fellow networking opportunities to establish a cohesive, cross-agency community of policymakers. As a result, these individuals are using their fellowships to implement landmark legislation and advance crucial societal priorities. Even still, the reach and impact of the fellowship far exceeds the work undertaken by its participants.
A core premise of the Impact Fellowship is to serve as proof of concept for federal investment in technical talent. As a direct result of our Impact Fellows’ placements in 2022, they have either directly hired or inspired the hiring of over 50 additional technologists and scientific experts. One shining example is the Institute for Education Sciences’ decision to establish an entire Data Science Unit to scale the work catalyzed by an FAS Impact Fellow.
In 2023, FAS’ commitment to talent will grow and include even more technically diverse Impact Fellows, including the addition of 30 climate science-oriented experts to support implementation of programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Talent Technical Assistance at the Department of Energy
Our team is constantly searching for new ways to ensure federal agencies have the resources, tools, and expertise needed to implement ambitious science agendas. In 2022, we deepened our work with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help it staff up to drive a clean energy future. DOE’s clean energy efforts – bolstered by allocations for new staff in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act – will require a massive influx of skilled scientists and technologists, many of whom have never considered public service and must be recruited.
Our team stepped in to assist with major hiring and recruiting efforts, working with the collaboration and support of partners such as Breakthrough Energy and Clean Energy for America. With these partners, FAS developed recruiting tools and hosted informational hiring webinars for potential applicants to the agency’s Clean Energy Corps. To date, this work has helped DOE increase short-term capacity to ramp up agency efforts on investments in clean energy technologies, and improved DOE’s long-term capacity to tackle core climate priorities.
In 2023, FAS plans to continue its federal talent partnership work with the Department of Energy, as well as expand that work to other agencies, to scope, recruit, and build pipelines to attract 21st-century talent to federal service. Building on existing assets like FAS’ Flexible Hiring Resources Guide, we will continue to develop technical assistance products for federal partners, engage ecosystem stakeholders like workforce development organizations, start-ups, and nonprofits, and communicate with agency leaders to best support their workforce operations.
Advancing Innovation in Education
Despite the critical importance of our K-12 education system, only a tiny percentage of the federal government’s research funding is dedicated to its improvement. Yet R&D can generate new insights, approaches, and tools to maximize educational outcomes across the board and address deep educational disparities. To pursue this vision, FAS has locked arms with organizations across the nonprofit, private and philanthropic sectors to launch the Alliance for Learning Innovation (ALI). As one example of its success this year, FAS worked through ALI to lead 25 key education stakeholders in a letter of support calling on Congress to increase spending on federal education R&D. The ensuing House Appropriations proposal included marked budget increases for several offices that our coalition recommended for increased funding, including the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in STEM, the Education Innovation and Research program, and the Institute of Education Sciences.
Additionally, increased federal, state, and local investments in STEM education are urgently needed. In pursuit of this agenda, FAS hosted a “policy accelerator”––an intensive, cohort-based training in policy entrepreneurship. This program––conducted in partnership with Beyond100K––brought together participants passionate about advancing equity and representation in STEM education and beyond. Over two months, these individuals developed actionable policy memos and learned how to promote their ideas. The wide-ranging recommendations advocated how to: incorporate cultural competency into STEM curriculums, include digital ethics principles in classrooms, facilitate inter-minority serving institution collaboration, and increase representation of marginalized individuals in STEM fields, to name a few.
The STEM education policy accelerator’s focus on issues at the intersection of STEM, equity, and representation is part of FAS’ growing DEI mission, which it will continue pursuing in 2023. For example, our team will run a Racial Equity in Tech Policy Accelerator in partnership with the Kapor Center. This accelerator will identify, develop, and publish a set of racial justice and technology policy ideas to be implemented by the legislative and executive branches. Participants will include policymakers, academics, and entrepreneurs with an interest in developing their ideas about racial equity in tech into a tailored, actionable set of policy recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration and 118th Congress.
The Science Policy team fosters connections between experts with ideas about how to use science to better serve the public good, and policymakers with the capacity to turn those ideas into reality. The team works across a range of priority domains, including environmental justice, wildfire prevention and mitigation, the science of science, evidence-based policy, and more.
This past year, the Science Policy team hosted two Day One Project policy accelerators and guided the development of more than two dozen Day One Project policy memos. Additionally, the team launched and piloted a new fellowship program––the Policy Entrepreneurship Fellowship (PEF)––which supported four early-career researchers in developing and executing implementation strategies for their policy ideas, an effort that yielded an outsized return on investment.
The Progress Studies Policy Accelerator
Across the science policy ecosystem, policymakers and innovators alike have been developing new paradigms to connect institutions to progress. Building on previous work done by Day One contributors to create Focus Research Organizations, FAS partnered with the Institute for Progress to host a Progress Studies Policy (PSP) Accelerator, exploring concrete ways in which successful institutions and policies help generate useful progress in the future. Over the course of seven weeks, accelerator participants developed and advanced ambitious policy ideas to reshape public institutions and drive global progress.
Following the accelerator, we published 10 Day One Project policy memos calling for bold policymaking across economic competitiveness, healthcare, artificial intelligence, and more. We were excited to see multiple recommendations from this suite of memos reflected in the CHIPS and Science Act, including a memo to establish testbeds to support the development of trustworthy and safe AI and machine learning, and a memo to invest in traineeship for STEM graduate students.
Supporting Early-Career Researchers in Policy Entrepreneurship
Early-career researchers interested in using their research for impact and to improve lives suffer from a lack of opportunity to develop their policy muscles. To address this gap, and to foster the next generation of scientist-policy entrepreneurs, FAS launched a series of programs to lift up early-career researchers and help them gain exposure to tools and networks of policy entrepreneurship.
In partnership with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), FAS hosted an Early Career Researcher (ECR) accelerator where participants published 11 policy memos on topics ranging from the underappreciated importance of the honey bee microbiome to the growing scourge of space junk. Following the accelerator, select participants joined Team FAS as the inaugural cohort of the Policy Entrepreneurship Fellowship (PEF), and received support in efforts to implement their policy memos.
Though most ECR accelerator participants had no significant prior policy experience, many of the ideas contained in the 12 memos produced have begun to gain traction. As an example, Grace Wickerson’s memo, Combating Bias in Medical Innovation, led to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) launching a study to explore how racial bias in current pulse oximeter technology may exacerbate disparities in patient outcomes.
This is a really fantastic experience that you will not regret. The FAS/Day One team is incredibly attentive and dedicated to both their mission and their accelerator cohorts. That means you will get an abundance of support and really feel like the ideas you’ve had percolating in the back of your mind are made better through fantastic editing and feedback, and put into the hands of those who have the power to make them into real policy. For those of you who are serious about your science policy foray, this program is for you!– Early Career Researcher Accelerator Participant
By designating 2022 the White House Year of Evidence for Action, the Biden Administration helped make 2022 the biggest year yet for evidence-based policy at the federal level. FAS supported this effort by collaborating with the Pew Charitable Trusts Evidence Project to host an Evidence for Action Challenge, which crowdsourced creative, expert ideas for the future of data-driven policy. Ideas that emerged from the challenge included incorporating evidence on what the public values into policymaking, using unmet desire surveys to facilitate productive collaboration among federal agency staff and external experts, and launching an intergovernmental research and evaluation consortium focused on economic mobility.
FAS also partnered with the White House Office of Management and Budget to host an Evidence Forum that attracted more than 100 participants from across the evidence community. A central theme of the Evidence Forum was the potential of “living” approaches to scientific synthesis to enhance federal initiatives and programs in multiple policy domains. FAS looks forward to pursuing follow-on opportunities from the Forum in FY23. In particular, we are excited to work with our new resident fellow, Dr. Julian Elliott of Monash University, to explore how living evidence can inform the development of CDC guidelines, characterize the nature and impacts of long COVID, and much more.
In his 2020 State of the Union address, President Biden reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to promoting environmental justice (EJ). The 2021 Justice40 Initiative is a whole-of-government effort to ensure that at least 40% of the investments and benefits of select federal programs flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. FAS has been supporting the administration’s EJ priorities through the placement of several EJ-focused Impact Fellows at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and through weekly strategic check-ins with CEQ’s EJ team, as well as the placement of FAS Impact Fellows. One of our Policy Entrepreneurship Fellows (PEFs), Alexa White, also focused her fellowship on the Justice40 Initiative and related EJ work. The science policy team worked with Alexa and CEQ to prepare an independent assessment of the implementation status of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC)’s Justice40 recommendations. Our analysis, which was completed after the conclusion of the fiscal year, found both progress and setbacks across implementation efforts. We look forward to working with CEQ and agencies in leveraging assessment insights to continue making historic progress on environmental justice issues nationwide in FY23, as well as looking at our own environmental and energy policy work through a justice lens.
By July 2023, the legislatively authorized Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission will deliver a comprehensive set of new wildfire-related policy recommendations to Congress. Ahead of this “make-or-break” year for federal wildland fire policy, FAS has conducted foundational work that will help the Commission achieve its goals, both through talent placement and targeted policy development. Building on the placement of FAS Impact Fellow Jenna Knobloch in USDA’s Office of the Undersecretary for National Resources and Environment, FAS also created a data visualization product to navigate wildfire policy’s complicated federal funding landscape and contextualize the impact of legislative momentum.
In FY23, FAS will continue addressing America’s wildfire crisis. We will place at least two additional Impact Fellows at the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Interior Office of Wildland Fire; we are scoping a third placement at the Environmental Protection Agency which will research wildfire smoke impact. Additionally, FAS has launched a Wildland Fire Policy Accelerator focused on bringing diverse scientific and technical perspectives into the Commission, particularly on topics related to the wide-ranging impacts of climate change, traditional ecological knowledge, technology, and wildfire smoke.
In FY22, FAS laid a foundation for deploying the full scope of our policy entrepreneurship toolkit to help policymakers enable a strong U.S. bioeconomy, which is valued at more than $950 billion and promises rapid growth for a new bio-workforce. In FY 2023, FAS is positioned to respond rapidly to the many bioeconomy-related provisions authorized in the Chips and Science Act and even appropriated for in the Inflation Reduction Act–both of which were signed into law in August 2022–and the Executive Order activating a whole-of-government approach to the bioeconomy released in September 2022. Moving forward, FAS will be crowdsourcing actionable policy ideas and convening biotech and biomanufacturing industry professionals and scholars and working with experts to design a policy agenda that would help support the U.S. bioeconomy.
Technology and Innovation
Over the past year, the Technology and Innovation team at FAS has grown into a hub for entrepreneurial approaches to federal R&D and budgets, regional innovation clusters, industrial strategy for critical and emerging sectors, high-skilled immigration, strategic global development and competition, and more.
CHIPS and Science
In August 2022, President Biden signed into law the biggest investment and reform package for American science in years. The policies, programs, funding targets, and appropriated funds established in the CHIPS and Science Act will better support young people pursuing STEM careers, foster the next generation of American entrepreneurs, and help rebuild the U.S. foundation of science, technology, and innovation. The CHIPS and Science Act represents years of hard work by the science and policy communities. It also represents an enormous success for so many members of the Day One community, as more than a dozen Day One memos became law with the stroke of the President’s pen. These victories underscore the power of democratizing policy entrepreneurship and allowing more citizens to be agents of policy change. The Day One community secured several legislative windfalls, including:
- Authorization of $25M annually for NSF to create an Entrepreneurial Fellows Program. Based on Ilan Gur et al.’s Day One Project memo, this program will provide budding entrepreneurs the resources they need to bring promising laboratory innovations to the marketplace.
- Authorization of a National Secure Data Service as government-wide data infrastructure to advance statistical research. This action responds to calls made by many, including Day One Project contributors Nick Hart and Kathy Stack.
- Authorization for NIST to establish artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) testbeds. This action reflects recommendations made by Tina Huang in a Day One Project Memo to support the development of trustworthy and safe AI.
- Authorization for NSF’s Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate to launch a flagship Regional Innovation Engines program. This program will advance translational research and regional innovation, and draws inspiration from the CEO-led structure of Focused Research Organizations proposed by Adam Marblestone and Sam Rodriques.
- Powerful new measures to enhance training and opportunities for early-career STEM professionals, thanks to the Day One Project memo and advocacy efforts of FAS’ Divyansh Kaushik. These measures include requiring federal research-funding proposals to include individual development plans for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
- Expansion of NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program by 3,000 fellows, echoing recommendations for expansion made in Andrew Sosanya’s Day One Project memo.
- Stronger U.S. engagement in international technical standards bodies and standards-setting processes through a variety of measures, directly aligning with recommendations made by Natalie Thompson and Mark Montgomery in a Day One Project memo.
The FAS team also convened a coalition of leading science organizations urging the successful completion of negotiations, and provided the blueprint for a deal on expanding EPSCoR funding, a key sticking point in the final stages. FAS also continues to call for appropriations to back up the science vision established in CHIPS.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge
In September 2022, the Economic Development Administration announced a $1 billion grant competition to:
- Provide transformational investments to regions across the country
- Grow new regional industry clusters, or
- Scale existing ones
To support this investment in national development, FAS joined a technical assistance coalition to support the implementation of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC). Through this partnership, FAS supported the 60 Phase 1 finalist regions with their R&D innovation and cluster-building strategy, securing specific, actionable, and high-impact commitments from their coalition, and laying the groundwork for forthcoming substantive partnerships between EDA applicants and other federal R&D and regional innovation efforts.
Reaching Global Development Moonshots
To meet the ambitious benchmarks set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to provide an opportunity for visionaries across the world to develop and publish policy memos, FAS launched the Global Development Moonshot Accelerator in partnership with UnlockAid. Selected applicants, whose submissions covered a range of development solutions to improve human development and overcome threats to extinction, were invited to an in-person workshop in Mexico City.
Following the in-person workshop, participants continued to refine their memos, which we published during the COP27 conference to emphasize the interconnectedness of issues across a changing climate, poverty, and other global issues. Through these memos and strategic global development recommendations, we aim to support the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other global development-focused agencies in becoming more evidence-based, science-based, innovative, and effective.
Day One Project Director Joshua Schoop workshopping in Mexico City
Advanced Research at the Department of Transportation
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law in November 2021, authorized the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure (ARPA-I). The ARPA-I authorization presents a generational opportunity for the Department of Transportation to tackle monumental challenges across transportation and infrastructure–including in the domains of safety, digital infrastructure, resilient and climate-prepared infrastructure, and many more–that are ready for breakthrough innovation. To meet the moment, FAS is supporting the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R) in scoping advanced research priorities across a range of infrastructure topics where targeted research can yield innovative new infrastructure technologies, materials, systems, capabilities, or processes. FAS’ approach relies on a proven methodology for research program design—drawn from practitioners at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) —that begins with defining a bold goal and a rigorous plan to achieve it.
The Day One Institute
Although many state and federal programs intend to provide Americans with vital support and resources, they often fall short of their goals. These initiatives neither treat beneficiaries as customers, nor place them at the center of the design of the program and experience. As a result, they frequently suffer from low take-up, poor retention, and inadequate outcomes. The President’s Management Agenda, as well as a December 2021 Executive Order on “Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government,” have created a mandate for government agencies to adopt more human-centered approaches to policy, products, and service design.
To meet this moment, FAS is expanding the Day One Institute in 2023. This initiative will scale successful human-centered design and innovation programming, which has been delivered by our team to over 450 civil servants since 2017. In the year ahead, the Day One Institute will pilot workshops in novel professional settings, train new instructors, and create a blended learning model to familiarize 500 public servants with human-centered design and innovation methods, tools, and practices. Over the next two years, our goal is to improve social service delivery across state and federal agencies and to enhance civil servants’ ability to foster and deliver social service programs that meet the needs of diverse customers.
Over the past year, the National Security team at FAS has worked at the forefront of addressing the emerging threats and risks of an ever-changing security environment, both domestically and internationally:
- FAS’ Nuclear Information Project served as the authoritative voice on the status and trends of nuclear weapons worldwide.
- The Project on the Defense Budget cut through the noise of the U.S. government’s industrial-age budgeting process and broke down barriers to adopting emerging technology solutions in the era of the digitally-defined battlefield.
- The Defense Posture Project laid the groundwork for a U.S. defense posture that is capable and credible, sufficiently restrained to maintain strategic stability, and fiscally sustainable.
Together, these projects contributed smart and innovative solutions to complex challenges facing our world today–––with the goal of making it a safer and more secure place.
Nuclear Information Project
After decades of declining nuclear arsenals and cooperative relations, the nuclear weapons landscape is evolving rapidly for the worse. Additionally, Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and President Putin’s overt nuclear threats have brought the world closer to wartime nuclear use than at any time since the Cold War ended. This new era of nuclear tensions has underscored the critical importance of the Nuclear Information Project (NIP). FAS’ history and well-established reputation as the go-to source for factual information and analysis on nuclear weapons issues makes it uniquely positioned to inform and advise U.S. policymakers, the news media, other organizations, as well as the general public about the status and future of nuclear weapons. In this context, this year, the project had unprecedented reach into key constituencies involved in the policy debate:
- On average, the data generated by the Nuclear Information Project was cited in external analysis every other day.
- The Nuclear Notebook on Russia’s nuclear forces in 2022 broke all previous Nuclear Notebook records by a significant margin, with over 300,000 unique reads within the first three months of publication.
- Nuclear Information Project data in the SIPRI Yearbook was covered in over 4,500 distinct online news articles within the first five days of its publication, including notable international outlets like CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, the Guardian, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, and many others.
- Additionally, data in the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor was used extensively to track treaty implementation during the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The team is initiating several exciting new projects in 2023, including a pilot fellowship program to address the lack of diversity in the nuclear field and to support aspiring nuclear weapons experts committed to rethinking nuclear deterrence.
Next-Generation Defense Budgeting Project
The United States risks losing its military advantage over rapidly advancing adversaries, in no small part because the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security community are unable to make effective and timely investment decisions. At the heart of these challenges are industrial-age resource allocation processes, namely the Department’s Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) system, which allocates resources years in advance, establishes categories for the use of funds, sets the lens for congressional oversight, and has limited execution-year flexibility.
The Next-Generation Defense Budgeting Project at FAS worked to broker Congressional consensus to establish a commission focused on generating actionable, bipartisan recommendations that will result in the most comprehensive reform of the PPBE system since the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management and the resulting Goldwaters-Nichols Act of 1986. The benefit to the nation will be a modern military capable of fielding new combat capabilities at pace with the speed of commercial innovation and within the decision cycles of our most determined advisories. This independent commission was authorized as part of the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The FAS Fiscal Sponsorship Program seeks to support burgeoning entrepreneurs in science and technology policy. Through this program, FAS provides sponsorship and support for philanthropic endeavors in an effort to forge partnerships and expand our impact in the science community. This year, we sought to grow our fiscal sponsorships not only in number but in the structure and offerings we provide to partners.
The Organs Initiative
Led by Jennifer Erickson
In FY22, the Organs Initiative continued to deliver on its mission to drive data-driven solutions to the organ shortage that sees 33 Americans die every day for lack of an available organ transplant. Key to success was working with partners including Day One Project co-authors from Organize, the Global Liver Institute, the American Society of Nephrology, and bipartisan issue leads from the Obama and Trump administrations, as well as data/technology partners from MIT and alumni of the United States Digital Service (USDS). Over the last year, FAS collaborations delivered high-profile publications that drove Congressional oversight as well as media coverage about the need to accelerate reform of the federal government’s own organ contractors. Following bipartisan, bicameral Congressional calls for acceleration of organ donation reform as an “urgent health equity issue” in July 2021, the Biden administration issued two Requests for Information (RFI) related to accountability for organ contractors.
In response, a wide range of stakeholders echoed FAS calls for open data for evidence of effectiveness and equitable service by organ procurement organizations (OPOs) across the country. Supporters of organ donation open data include leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, the House Oversight Committee, the ACLU, public health physicians, leading data scientists, alumni of the previous four administrations (Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump), all five past Chief Technology Officers of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Kidney Foundation, the American Society of Nephrology, Organize, and the Global Liver Institute.
Following a high-profile bipartisan Senate Finance hearing into organ contractor failures in August 2022, and ongoing national media coverage (e.g., two front pages in the Washington Post – one on technology failures and a second on deadly patient safety lapses), the Organs Initiative will continue to work with partners to deliver on bipartisan recommendations for accountability.
Improving America’s Foster Care System
Led by Marina Nitze
One of our major projects is increasing the percentage of children in foster care who live with kin (adults they already know and trust) from 34% to 80% nationwide. Our approach is to understand more about how to find kin through our Resource Family Working Group (which has grown to 20 states representing 137,700 foster youth), where state child welfare leaders come together once a month to surface and scale promising practices and shared challenges. We have collected over 150 promising practices through the group, which are published in the Child Welfare Playbook so other states can easily copy successful strategies from one another. We published a Kin-Finding Progress Dashboard to highlight the progress each state is making toward our identified seven-point kin-finding plan.
Today, every state suffers a dearth of the foster homes their children need most—families who speak their language, live in their school districts, and share their community. Traditional recruitment tactics center around billboard ads and farmers’ market booths, and have no underlying data. In partnership with The Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change (RISC) at the University of Chicago, we are conducting gap analyses in seven states to create a real-time, data-driven recruitment “to-do” list. We have signed up Michigan, Indiana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Arkansas, Indiana, and Oregon. New Mexico is furthest along—we have completed the gap analysis there and are in the process of rolling out data-driven recruitment dashboards across the state, with the other six states following closely behind. We have partnership agreements with the 3 major IT vendors in the child welfare space to incorporate these dashboards into their IT systems, scaling to over 40 states.
Next year, we hope to start increasing the number of kinship placements nationally by scaling our plays and dashboards through multiple national partners. For example, we will help the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network (which runs the federal government’s technical assistance center on kin) run a learning collaborative where every state will adopt at least one practice from our dashboard. We will also help Washington State completely redesign its kin-finding office, as a reference implementation for the rest of the country. In January 2023, we will launch a statewide data-driven foster parent recruitment campaign with Arkansas to surface and scale successful methods for closing its identified gaps in foster family homes. We expect to roll out in Indiana in June 2023. These will be our first two of seven states to demonstrate the potential impact of a data-driven foster home recruitment methodology.
Fundraising and Development
The Federation of American Scientists achieved unprecedented fundraising success in FY22, bringing in $35 million to support a growing portfolio of cutting-edge work across its science, technology, innovation, and national security programs. This is a product of the critical strategic thinking implemented daily by the FAS team to solidify the organization’s presence as an indispensable voice for evidence-based, scientifically-driven policy analysis and research.
in revenue in FY22, an increase of more than 10x over FY21
sources of diversified financial support (a more than 2x increase over FY21), with no single source representing more than 30% of our revenue
raised from individual donors
average individual donation amount
The majority of the funding FAS receives (99.83%) is restricted for the use of specific projects and initiatives, while unrestricted funding (which only accounts for 0.17% of funding) bolsters the organization’s operational capacity.
The critical work being done at FAS would not be possible without the generous support of its philanthropic partners who continue to invest in the organization’s vision for the future.