E1: State Policy and Independent State Academies of Science: Examples from WA and CA

In states across the nation, scientists and engineers from academia, industry, and federal laboratories are using their expertise to inform policy decisions in state legislatures and agencies. In very real and immediate ways, those policy decisions impact a state’s natural resources (water, air, agriculture, and forests); jobs and infrastructure; and medical and behavioral health, education at all levels, and worker preparation. Those policies also create and incentivize the economic and educational environment for research and innovation to thrive—or not.

In this session, speakers will discuss specific examples from two states with boundary spanning organizations created specifically to enable scientists and engineers to advise state policymakers over time—California and Washington. Presenters from the California Council on Science and Technology will discuss the policy impacts of its peer reviewed report on hydraulic fracturing stimulations in the oil and gas industry (2015), as well as ongoing collaborations between scientists and policymakers based on the report findings. Presenters from the Washington State Academy of Sciences will discuss its evaluation of a newly created state agency’s (Puget Sound Partnership (PSP)) system of indicators of ecosystem condition, and human health and well-being within and around the Puget Sound, as well as ongoing interactions to advise and recommend how PSP might most effectively continue the process of refining and selecting indicators. Both sets of presentations will include brief descriptions of how the organizations were created to provide scientific and technical advice to state policymakers.


  • Sarah Brady, Deputy Director, California Council on Science and Technology
  • Jane Long, Senior Fellow, California Council on Science and Technology
  • Donna Gerardi Riordan, Executive Director, Washington State Academy of Sciences
  • Jeff Le, U.S., State, and Local Public Policy Lead for VMWare; Former Assistant Cabinet Secretary, Governor Brown