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Science Outside the Lab Workshop: Opportunity for a PhD Student or Postdoctoral Fellow to Learn about Science Policy

Modified: February 15, 2017

Science Outside the Lab, presented by Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement & Training in Science & Society (CENTSS), explores the relationships among science, policy, and societal outcomes in a place where many important decisions about these things are made – Washington, D.C. During the two-week workshop, grad students and postdocs will meet and interact with the people who fund, regulate, shape, critique, publicize and study science, including congressional staffers, funding agency officers, lobbyists, regulators, journalists, academics, museum curators and others.

With the intersections between science, politics and society making the headlines every day, it is more important than ever for scientists and engineers to know how the decisions that affect them are made. Washington, D.C., where the $140 billion of federal science money and countless policy decisions originate, is the perfect setting to delve into the complicated world of science policy. Junior scholars who understand the goals and implications of publicly funded science will likely have an advantage when seeking jobs and funding. This program also will explore numerous careers in the science policy realm.

Who should attend?
Doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars who are interested in how the decisions about science funding, regulation and policy are made will benefit from this program. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in careers in science policy also will find this to be an excellent opportunity to learn about important fellowships and meet current science policy professionals. Many past participants have been accepted into the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship.

What to expect
Arizona State University hosts the program at its Washington Center and meetings take place in locations throughout the Washington, D.C., area, which allow the students to experience many facets of the Nation’s Capital. This is not a two-week lecture series. It includes discussions, hands-on experiences and on-location learning. It is designed not just to teach how decisions are made but to give the participants a chance to try their hands at them as well. The primary component of the program is the discussions the students will have with people throughout the District of Columbia. All presenters are asked to limit their opening comments to fifteen minutes. This leaves plenty of time for conversation. This opportunity, of course, comes with a significant responsibility. The success of the course will rest on the participants’ ability to ask probing questions and explore the subtler facets of policy. The goal is to expose participating graduate scientists and engineers to as many different viewpoints as possible and help them understand how the people and institutions in Washington, D.C., both influence and learn from science. Participants live in dormitories at George Washington University.


  • Dates: SoTL runs Monday, June 12, 2017 to Friday, June 23, 2017
  • Expense: The Graduate School will cover all expenses, including program registration, travel to and from DC, lodging, and meals (valued at over $5000). Travel and lodging arrangements will be coordinated with Science Outside the Lab by the selected graduate student or postdoctoral fellow.

Application procedure
Please submit the following by 11:59pm on March 20, 2017 through the TGS Application Portal:

  • CV (no more than 4 pages)
  • Essay describing your interest in the program and how participation will help you achieve your professional goals (250 words)
  • Essay describing a plan for sharing the Science Outside the Lab experience and findings with the Northwestern community (250 words)
  • A brief note of support from your primary adviser (see application portal for details and to upload note)
  • Departmental chart string (should be obtainable from your program assistant or business administrator)

Contact Mearah Quinn-Brauner, Associate Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development.

Professional Development