We live in a time of extraordinary opportunities and challenges – many of which involve issues of science, technology, health, and the environment. The Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) is a unique state resource for the government, organizations and citizens as they confront these challenges and seize opportunities to improve their lives.
WSAS is the premier source of objective scientific and technological information on important issues, questions and problems to achieve informed public policy decisions in Washington State.
WSAS leads and serves Washington State by
- Responding to requests from the Governor, the State Legislature, and other state entities or private organizations for authoritative, independent scientific and technical advice to inform policy development and decision making in Washington State;
- Identifying emerging trends and needs that will have significant impact on our citizens’ future;
- Developing and sustaining a culture of scientific and technical excellence in Washington State through annual scientific symposia, public and K-12 education programs, and support for students in science and engineering;
- Organizing in-depth discussions about important issues confronting Washington State;
- Convening study committees and issuing objective reports that are funded by the government and non-governmental organizations; and
- Identifying and recruiting as Members the state’s most distinguished scientific and technical experts.
Our activities include:
Increased interactions with the state legislature and other state leaders in various sectors (government, agencies, industry, and foundations).
Identification and visibility of WSAS members’ areas of expertise through identification of critical issues facing Washington State.
Individual or small-group meetings of WSAS experts with policy makers and agency leaders and their staff to focus on time-sensitive issues requiring specific scientific or technical know-how.
Convenings, such as workshops and symposia, focused on cross-disciplinary policy issues. These events can be single- or multi-day events, depending on the need and level of resources, and are memorialized via workshop reports.
White papers on key challenges facing the state that describe both what is already known in specific scientific and technical areas and where are the knowledge gaps, resulting in recommendations about where more focused research and resources could result in better-informed policy.
Independent reviews of work done by others, including state agencies or commissions, nonprofit organizations, or for-profit companies.
Adaptation for use by state agencies and the legislature of national-level policy reports, e.g., from the National Academies, that may have important implications for state-level policy.
Independent committee reports about complex and state-specific issues that require scientific and technical expertise across disciplines to inform and advise the state. This kind of project works well using an expert study committee that is charged to prepare a formal report based on the best available science. Ideally, the product is an independent consensus report drafted by the committee, and reviewed by peers before publication and release to the public.