At the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., on February 17, ALD for Biosciences Mary Maxon spoke and served on a panel as part of a session on “Overcoming the STEM-Policy Divide with Fellowships in State Governments.” Her talk reported on a 2018 study of PhD and MD California Science & Technology (S&T) Policy Fellows who served one-year appointments as full-time staffers in the California Legislature. The fellowships were supported by a grant to the California Council on S&T from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The study found that S&T fellows help policymakers understand complex policy issues and make better-informed decisions about them, and that S&T fellowships tend to boost legislative fellows’ professional opportunities. Maxon was instrumental in developing the California S&T Policy Fellows program.
Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences Mary Maxon joined an international group of policy leaders, NGO, and industry representatives in Berlin last week to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with shifting from current industry practices to a sustainable bio-based economy. Maxon emphasized the importance of translating basic science to innovation by highlighting the Agile BioFoundry, a national laboratory-led consortium to advance biomanufacturing that is managed by Berkeley Lab.
Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences Mary Maxon and Bruce Alberts, the chancellor’s leadership chair for science and education in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, co-wrote an editorial on “Science for State Legislatures” published this week in Science. In it, they make the case that state Science and Technology (S&T) Policy Fellowship programs, such as the nearly decade-old program in California’s state legislature (on whose advisory committee both serve), are a critical bridge between the scientific community and the government. Among other contributions, fellows help policymakers understand “science as a second language.” California’s program is itself modeled on the national American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) S&T Policy Fellowship Program, which over 45 years has enabled thousands of PhD scientists, engineers, and physicians to work for a year for the U.S. government. Alberts and Maxon believe that “the establishment of S&T fellowship programs in other states could greatly increase evidence-based policy-making and not only benefit state policy-makers but also help to inform national policy-making and society as a whole.”
Biosciences Area Principal Deputy Mary Maxon served on a National Academy of Sciences committee that conducted a study on the future products of biotechnology for the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), Environmental Protection Agency, Food & Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture. The committee produced a report that was released on March 9, 2017 and has been downloaded more than 2000 times in over 80 countries and covered by several news outlets (for example, here and here). Maxon was asked to be one of three committee members (From L: Richard Murray, chair; Maxon; Steve Bradbury) to participate in the report release activities in Washington, DC, on March 8 & 9. She returned to DC the following week to participate in more briefings at OSTP and on Capitol Hill, and also has been asked to be part of additional dissemination activities, including a Science Reddit AMA on June 15. Read and hear more in the National Academies press release.