By Susan F. Wood, PhD

Much has been written at the Pump Handle and elsewhere in the media and scientific literature about ensuring that science appropriately drives government policies.  Questions and concerns have abounded regarding inappropriate non-scientific interference, while at the same time many health and environmental agencies (and the scientific staff within them) continue their incredibly important work in research, evaluation, development, regulation and service delivery.  Several organizations have done surveys and developed principles on scientific integrity including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Scientists and Engineers for America.

At the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy at George Washington University School of Public Health, we are launching a multi-part study to get a strong handle on the written policies regarding the role of scientists in government that are currently in place, an understanding of how they are implemented at various agencies, and what recommendations can be made to specifically create policies that support strong science and the appropriate role of scientists and researchers within our health and environment agencies.

This is where we need your help:

We are seeking current and former government scientists to participate in interviews for the Scientists in Government project.  Interviews will be conducted in Summer 2008.
 
If you are a current or former government scientist (with an advanced degree and at least five years of experience working for a science-based health or environment federal agency), you can help us in our work to strengthen policies on science in the federal government.  Participation involves a phone or in-person interview of 1-2 hours.  Our study is approved by George Washington University’s IRB (#030823).

More information about the project can be found at: http://www.defendingscience.org/Scientists-in-Government-Project.cfm.
 
If you are interested in participating, please contact Ruth Long at 202-994-7993 or eohrwl@gwumc.edu. If you know others who might be interested in participating, please send them to this webpage: http://www.defendingscience.org/Participate-in-the-Scientists-in-Government-Project.cfm

 

Susan F. Wood, PhD is Research Professor at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, where she is part of the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP).  She also served as Director of the FDA Office of Women’s Health from 2000-2005 and is a member of the Board of Directors for Scientists and Engineers for America.