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Informing Policy and Action

The gap between the public’s trust in and perception of the scientific process often have a powerful effect on policy development and other public decision-making processes. To better understand how scientists are consulted during these decision-making processes, the Academy will undertake the following series of subprojects:

  • Science and the Legal System: The differing languages and cultures of science and law affect a scientist’s willingness to take the stand in a courtroom. The Academy will survey its scientific members regarding their attitudes toward the legal system and their experiences serving as expert witnesses in the court system. A special issue of Dædalus, the Journal of the American Academy, will summarize findings in the context of new analyses of ways in which the relationship between science and law can be improved.

  • Communicating Science during Crises: Strategic deployment of scientific expertise during crisis events has been severely understudied. The Academy will convene communication experts, crisis managers, and scientific leaders (including social scientists) to discuss these issues, recommend policy reforms, and produce a benchmark document that will advance science communication during disasters.

  • Conflicts between Evidence and Intuition in Curriculum Development: The Academy proposes to convene education scholars to explore how cutting-edge research on learning and childhood development is incorporated into the design of educational standards and curricula.

  • The Role of Scientists in Adapting to Climate Change: Government officials will need to work closely with risk management experts, urban planners, and scientists to develop effective strategies for adapting to the effects of climate change. This Academy study will examine questions related to community involvement, perceived risks, and knowledge gaps with regard to climate change adaption.