Syracuse One of Six Institutions in Science Policy Exchange
Syracuse University’s Lubin House hosted a reception recently to showcase the Science Policy Exchange (SPE) and the results from its first set of projects. SPE was established by six leading research institutions, including Syracuse University, associated with four long-term ecological research sites, all dedicated to increasing the impact of science on environmental decisions.
Charles T. Driscoll, University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was instrumental in bringing this new kind of boundary-spanning organization to fruition and leads one of its most visible projects; and Sherburne B. Abbott, vice president for sustainability initiatives and University Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy, chairs the governing council.
The SPE’s three initiatives address the interacting effects of climate change, land use and pollution on ecosystems and their benefits to people. The initiatives—energy transformation, landscapes and resilience, and water sustainability—each consist of projects that draw on and communicate policy-relevant science in formats that meet the needs of decision makers. The projects focus on the northeastern U.S. and have national to global significance, with potential for impact on major policy decisions in the next three to five years.
The event featured a dialogue between Abbott and Marcia McNutt, editor-in-chief, Science, and nominee as the next president of the National Academy of Sciences—touching on national priorities within sustainability science and lessons learned about the science-policy interface.
Scientists also presented their work, and two of the four flagship projects were led by Syracuse University. Driscoll spoke about the co-health benefits of curbing power plant emissions. Lessons from science and practice were outlined from a recent SPE report on green infrastructure. The collaborative nature of the exchange equates to great success. The launch event brought about positive feedback from a diverse audience from universities, foundations and policy makers.