Who We Are
The Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) is a not-for-profit organization of more than 300 elected members who are nationally recognized for their scientific and technical expertise. All members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine who reside in Washington State are invited to join; others are elected in recognition of their scientific and technical contributions to our nation and their desire to contribute their expertise to inform issues in WA State.
WSAS provides expert scientific and engineering assessments to inform public policy making and works to increase the impact of research in Washington State.
Our Value to Washington
WSAS mobilizes the expertise of our members, plus our network of partners, to provide independent, non-advocate scientific and engineering assessments of issues that impact the citizens, government and businesses of Washington State.
We accomplish our mission by drawing on our state-wide pool of distinguished members, state government officials, and other key stakeholders and experts to address critical issues facing Washington State. We organize and conduct multi-disciplinary roundtable discussions, workshops, and symposia to assess risks, identify technological opportunities, and define critical research gaps. Our use of peer review ensures the studies we conduct, programs and projects we evaluate, and reports we provide are scientifically and technically sound and unbiased resources for informing the development of Washington state policy.
Establishment of a Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) was first recommended by Governor Gregoire in 2005 to improve public policies and programs through the integration of informed, independent scientific analysis and communication with policy makers. On April 16, 2005, Engrossed Senate Bill 5381, requested by Governor Gregoire, was unanimously passed authorizing the creation of WSAS. WSAS’s principal mission, established by legislation, is the “provision of scientific analysis and recommendations on questions referred to the academy by the governor, the governor’s designee, or the legislature.”
An Organizing Committee, co-chaired by University of Washington President Mark Emmert and Washington State University President Lane Rawlins, was charged with creating the Academy. The Committee consisting of 13 UW and WSU faculty was formalized in 2006 and developed the initial budget, articles of incorporation, and bylaws of WSAS. WSAS Members Gordon Orians and R. James Cook were instrumental in the Academy’s founding and creation of the first Board of Directors. Read an interview with Drs. Orians and Cook here.
WSAS hosts an annual symposium on topics of importance to Washington State. WSAS works with state agencies, the legislature, and other non-profits including the Puget Sound Partnership, State Legislative Committees and Task Forces, the Washington State Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Fish and Wildlife, and the William D. Ruckelshaus Center. Read about our current projects here.