Leadership in Science Policy Institute
The Computing Research Association’s Computing Community Consortium offers its Leadership in Science Policy Institute to educate computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. LiSPI features presentations and discussions with science policy experts, current and former Hill staff, and relevant agency and Administration personnel about mechanics of the legislative process, interacting with agencies, advisory committees, and the federal case for computing.
Director of Government Affairs, CRA
Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Computer Science, Cornell University
April 27, 2015 (Monday)
|07:30 AM||Breakfast Available|
Speaker: Fred B. Schneider, Chair CRA Government Affairs
Lay out the goals of the workshop: to provide a crash-course in relevant science policy issues and the mechanics of policymaking, including a sense of how federal science policy is crafted, how it’s implemented, and where are the opportunities for members of the community to participate in the policy-making process.
|09:00 AM||The Federal Case for Computing
Speaker: Peter Harsha, CRA
The computing research portfolio of the federal government is spread across 14 different agencies and accounts for over $4 billion annually. Each year, significant portions of that investment are reassessed by the agencies, the White House, and ultimately Congress, who must decide where taxpayer dollars will be spent. This session will explore the arguments that the computing community has been using to justify receiving taxpayer dollars in support of its research.
|10:30 AM||The Federal Budget Process
Speaker: Kei Koizumi, OSTP
Former budget “guru” for AAAS, and now R&D budget expert for the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, Kei Koizumi, will walk through the federal budget process. He will discuss the mechanics of the budget process (including the key milestones and inflection points in the process, and key agencies for the science community), and he will speculate about some of the challenges ahead for the community, including how the overall federal budget situation and political environment are likely to impact science budgets.
|01:00 PM||Role of Advisory Committees
Advisory committees are found at nearly every level of the Federal Government. Some oversee particular programs, others advise offices, directorates, or agencies, and there are a range of Presidentially-appointed panels too. This session will attempt to provide an understanding about those committees— including how they work (in theory and in practice), why they might not work, how their membership is chosen, and whom they are intended to influence and then actually influence. Being effective on one of these committees often requires different strategy and tactics from what works in a university setting. The speakers will give thoughts on why it’s important to serve and will explain in some detail the dynamics of how issues get raised and vetted, and how outcomes get finalized and disseminated.
|02:45 PM||Interacting with the Agencies/Creating New Initiatives
Speakers: Farnam Jahanian, CMU; Angelos Keromytis, DARPA
The agencies are where the science-policy rubber hits the road, where decisions made in both the Administrative and Legislative branches get implemented, and the most common avenue for individuals in the science community to interact with the federal government. Influencing policy decisions at the agency level can require a somewhat different skill set and somewhat different approach than influencing your faculty peers, the Congress, or the White House. Agencies also provide opportunities for individuals in the community to directly shape federal policy in their field, by serving on an agency advisory committee, or by taking a rotation as a program manager, division director, or office director. This session will cover the agency budget process and will discuss opportunities for scientists to advise and engage federal science agencies like NSF, DOE, DOD and NIH. The speakers will discuss the mechanics of how agency new initiatives get started, focusing on the culture and traditions that constitute the lens through which agencies view themselves and are viewed by others. In practical terms, how is success measured? To what extent is outside advice sought and in support of what kinds of activities? What kinds of advice and modes of engagement are unlikely to be effective?
|04:00 PM||Having the Conversation – Part One
Speaker: Elizabeth Grossman, Microsoft Policy
This two-part session will provide a first opportunity for participants to start putting into practice some of the things they’ve learned. Participants will get a sense of how policymakers approach meetings with researchers and how researchers can be best prepared to deliver useful input. In the first part of the session, Elizabeth Grossman will describe typical interactions with Congressional staff, provide tips and techniques to make those interactions productive, and present a homework assignment participants will prepare for part two of the session, at 10 am Tuesday.
|05:00 PM||Expert Panel – Communicating the Importance of the Field
Speakers: Arun Seraphin, Professional Staff, Senate Armed Services Committee; Dahlia Sokolov, Staff Director, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
Participants will hear from a panel featuring current staff from key science-related congressional committees, who understand the unique difficulties of communicating the value of research to policymakers, and the difficulties of prioritizing science investments in the current political climate. Arguments that are helpful and those that are ineffective will be surveyed. Protocol for interactions and follow-up will also be discussed.
|06:00 PM||Reception for Workshop Attendees, Speakers and Invited Guests
Guest Speaker: Jim Kurose, NSF CISE AD
April 28, 2015 (Tuesday)
|07:00 AM||Breakfast Available|
|08:00 AM||Embedding Researchers in Non-Research Agencies and the White House
Speakers: Edward Felten, Princeton; Randy Bryant, OSTP; Stephanie Forrest, Univ. of New Mexico; Peter Swire, Georgia Tech
Federal science agencies are generally pretty well connected to the communities they serve. Agencies like the National Science Foundation and DARPA rely on a constant flow of people back and forth from the research community to agency service to help craft and shape research programs that move the field forward and address agency missions. Non-science Federal agencies, like the Federal Trade Commission, have other mission needs and do not have that natural connection to the research community, yet could benefit from ready access to technical expertise. The speakers will discuss their experiences in incorporating technical expertise into regulatory agencies and the White House, the opportunities at other agencies, and how they found themselves in a position to serve.
|10:00 AM||Having the Conversation - Part Two
Speakers: Elizabeth Grossman; Peter Harsha, CRA; and Cameron Wilson, code.org
Continuing the session begun Monday evening, participants will get an opportunity to put this advice into use through role-play, presenting their homework to a panel of former congressional staff who will provide constructive advice.
|12:00 PM||Congressional Testimony, Wrap-up and Post-Workshop Homework Assignment
Speaker: Fred Schneider
|12:30 PM||Workshop Concludes|