American Association for the Advancement of Science

To pilot a Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues whose reports on policy-relevant scientific findings will be impartial, respected, timely, and informed by expertise in the social and behavioral sciences

  • Amount $500,251
  • City Washington, DC
  • Investigator Rush Holt
  • Year 2017
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance

The new Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (the “Scientific EPI Center”) being launched by the American Association for the Advancement of Science aims to help bring scientific evidence to bear on public policy issues. The need for such a center has been discussed in Washington for decades, beginning when Congress closed its own Office of Technology Assessment in 1995. As impartial scientific expertise in government and think tanks has dwindled, policymakers increasingly turn to lobbyists or other self-interested parties. What is needed, instead, is a source of impartial experts who can bring our best scientific understandings to bear on policy issues as diverse as climate change, cybersecurity, AI, and renewable energy. This grant provides funds to the new Scientific EPI Center for the hiring of a full-time economist or other empirical social scientist. The addition of such a full-time staff will allow the Center to benefit from the rigorous frameworks and models developed within economics for the analysis of incentives and behavior, provide a guide to the voluminous economic literature that bears on policy issues, and ensure that Center reports and recommendations are informed by economic insights about trade-offs, opportunity costs, nudges, and elasticities. Qualifications for this position include a Ph.D. as well as years of scholarly achievement, policy experience, and management practice.

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