Annual Report 2022
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.
If you want to support this work, you can donate here, or review our website for exciting policy opportunities, fellowships, or open positions.
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.
The U.S. is facing a shortage in both pilot-scale and manufacturing-scale biomanufacturing facilities that severely hinders product development and commercialization.
Do you have ideas that could inform an ambitious project that FESI has a comparative advantage pursuing? We want to hear it.
Friends of FESI have identified priority use cases to inform project ideas.
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