This post was updated on June 18th 2018 with updated links.
Did you know that CRA has an advocacy network, where you can get updates about what’s happening in the science policy world of Washington? Or that we are regularly looking for volunteers to participate in Congressional Visit Days in Washington? Have you wanted to learn how you can break into the exciting world of science policy? CRA has tools for all of these and a little bit more.
First, let’s talk about CRAN, or the Computing Research Advocacy Network. This is the Association’s e-mailing list; it’s where our members can get timely information and alerts about key advocacy opportunities. We’re also very careful to not waste your time; we try to keep the alerts to about 7 to 10 a year (ie: less than an email a month). And it’s not a discussion list; only CRA staff will use the mailing list and only for the purposes of informing our members about policy related matters that will impact the CS community. It’s definitely worth signing up for!
Our Congressional Visit Days held here in Washington DC. This is a chance for our membership to meet with the staffs of their Representatives and Senators in Washington, DC, and to make the case for computer science research directly. CRA provides the materials, the arguments, and the training; volunteers provide the flesh and blood example of the importance of federal research funding to their members of Congress. It’s a great way to be a Citizen Scientist and to take part in your government. This is a very important activity that the community can do to make sure federal support of CS research continues.
The Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI) is part of CRA’s mission, in partnership with CRA’s Computing Community Consortium (link) to develop the next generation of leaders in the computing research community. It is intended to educate computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. It’s a two-day workshop, which features presentations and discussions with science policy experts, current and former Hill staff, and relevant agency and Administration personnel. The goal is to walk CS researchers through the basics about the mechanics of the legislative process, interacting with agencies, advisory committees, and the federal case for computing. The hope is that this will make more people from the CS community consider taking a job, temporary or permanent, in the policy world of Washington. LiSPI isn’t open to everyone; you have to be nominated by a chair or department head and then go through an application process. It’s all explained on the LiSPI website, so click through and find out if you’re interested.
Finally, we have the nuts and bolts of keeping our members informed: the Computing Research Policy Blog (which you’re reading) and Computing Research News (CRN). The Blog is our home for up-to-date information about advocacy and policy analysis for the computing research community. CRN is for more general computing science news in academia, government, and industry. Of particular importance are the job announcements, which are posted regularly. But both are useful for staying informed as to what’s going on.
So there you have it: all of the useful tools that CRA provides, right at your digital fingertips! We’d recommend you check them all out and get involved.