Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes CSPO

The Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes operates on multiple scales. CSPO is an independent unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, with university-wide faculty appointments, faculty affiliates, staff, programs and projects, as detailed on this website. CSPO also collaborates with an array of other units at ASU, including: the Biodesign Institute; the Global Institute of Sustainability; the Center for Biology and Society; the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing; and the Center for the Study of the Law, Science, and Technology … (full text The Consortium).

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Addresses (1 of 3): Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, Arizona State University, 1834 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA;
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About /who we are: The Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes is an intellectual network aimed at enhancing the contribution of science and technology to society’s pursuit of equality, justice, freedom, and overall quality of life.

The Consortium creates knowledge and methods, cultivates public discourse, and fosters policies to help decision makers and institutions grapple with the immense power and importance of science and technology as society charts a course for the future.

Man’s power to achieve good or to inflict evil surpasses the brightest hopes and the sharpest fears of all ages. We can turn rivers in their courses, level mountains to the plains. Oceans and land and sky are avenues for our colossal commerce. Disease diminishes and life lengthens. Yet the promise of this life is imperiled by the very genius that has made it possible. Nations amass wealth. Labor sweats to create, and turns out devices to level not only mountains but also cities. Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, the power to erase human life from this planet. – President Dwight D. Eisenhower (First inaugural address, 1953)

Science and technology (S&T) have become the most powerful transforming forces in society, allowing people to escape fundamental need; fostering innovation and economic growth; fighting scourges like smallpox, polio, and AIDS; and joining billions of people together in information and communication networks that serve democracy as well as commerce. But the profound changes brought about by S&T have led as well to negative impacts–often unanticipated. From the industrial revolution to the information revolution, the march of scientific and technological progress has left in its wake unemployment, cultural dislocation, economic inequity, environmental destruction, even war and disease.

Just as science and technology affect our world, they are affected by public policy decisions about how research funds are allocated, priorities established, the research enterprise organized, knowledge communicated and applied, and accountability maintained. Policy decisions influence the societal consequences–the outcomes–of scientific research in realms as diverse as the economy, the environment, health, governance, national security, and social structure.

While it is clear that S&T contribute to large scale societal transformations, our current understanding of how they do so is inadequate, and this leaves us unprepared for the task of planning for the future. Today, decision makers lack the tools necessary to plan for, respond to, and integrate into public policy the dynamo of S&T progress that continually reshapes our world.

Our incomplete understanding of the impacts and effects of S&T leads to such paradoxical outcomes as AIDS drugs that work in post-industrial cultures but are thus far largely irrelevant to the developing world due to challenges of cost and distribution, and genetically modified crops that have the potential to boost nutrition and agricultural productivity but are fiercely opposed on cultural and environmental grounds … (full long text about).

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