Partnership Evaluation Summary and Guidelines

Center for Science, Policy and Society Programs
Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005 USA
Tel: 202 326 6700 Fax: 202 289 4950
E-mail: fellowships@aaas.org
AAAS SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY POLICY FELLOWSHIPS
AAAS CONGRESSIONAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FELLOWS® PROGRAM
PARTNERSHIP EVALUATION SUMMARY AND GUIDELINES
The Advisory Committee for the AAAS Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows® Program is tasked with reviewing applications for partnership in the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. This document is for the committee’s internal use in evaluating submissions of partnership applications.
PARTNERSHIP EVALUATION PROCESS
1) Fellowships staff review applications to ensure that organizations applying for partnership meet the basic eligibility criteria and that all required materials are submitted.
2) Fellowships staff forward only completed, eligible application materials to committee members via email in advance of the June or November committee meeting.
3) Committee members review applications and come to the meeting with comments, or if unable to attend, provide comments and a recommendation to the AAAS staff prior to the meeting.
4) At the meeting, AAAS staff provides overviews of the applications of societies being considered for partnership, and then ask for comments from the committee members.
5) The committee members’ discussion will continue until a consensus recommendation on the society’s application is reached. The Advisory Committee may recommend that AAAS (1) accept the society as a partner; (2) reject the society as a partner; (3) ask the society for clarification on items in the application and/or ask them to submit supplemental information.
6) If necessary, the committee members may review any subsequent materials, and submit comments and a recommendation, electronically.
7) The AAAS Fellowships staff will contact the society with the decision based on input and recommendations of the Advisory Committee.
Upon approval of partnership, the society will be listed on the partner society page of the AAAS Fellowships web site, and on all outreach materials for the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships.
EVALUATION CONSIDERATIONS
There are a number of issues to be considered when reviewing partnership applications. This section presents important considerations and guidelines for Committee members to keep in mind throughout the evaluation process.
Fellowship Mission & Objectives
The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships are provided as a professional development opportunity with the aim of fostering more policy-savvy scientists and engineers. Fellowships are awarded to highly qualified individuals interested in learning about the science-policy interface while applying their scientific and technical knowledge and analytical skills in the federal policy realm.
2 AAAS Partnership Evaluation Guidelines 11/08
The overarching goals of the Fellowships are to increase the capacity of scientists and engineers to inform the discussions and decisions of individuals and institutions that influence or determine policies, and to provide scientific expertise and analysis to support decision-makers confronting complex scientific and technological issues. The Fellowships aim to:
 educate scientists and engineers on the intricacies of federal policymaking;
 foster positive exchange between scientists/engineers and policymakers;
 empower scientists and engineers to conduct policy-relevant research and other activities that address challenges facing society; and
 increase the involvement and visibility of scientists and engineers in the public policy realm.
Type of Organization
Partnership in the AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows® program is open only to scientific or engineering societies. The Fellowships program does not accept as partners any universities or university associations, academic institutions or consortiums, trade associations, foundations, or commercial sponsors, or professional societies without a significant focus on science or engineering. A partner society must:
 be national or international in scope/membership;
 have individual members of whom a significant portion
o have a PhD or equivalent doctoral degree level, or other terminal degree level (engineers with a master’s degree or higher), and
o are directly involved professionally in science and engineering research or applied activities, or in education related to science and engineering;
 exhibit one or more of the following metrics:
o publication of one or more reputable peer-reviewed journals,
o members who have published in other recognized peer-review journals, and
o funding of research or other scientific activities (i.e., scientific conferences, publications).
Design of Fellowship Program
A society’s fellowship program criteria, policies and procedures must
 require candidates to be scientists with a PhD or equivalent level doctoral degree, or engineers with a master’s degree or higher, who demonstrate exceptional competence in their fields;
 adhere to the general principles and purposes, and all policies and ethics guidelines of the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships;
 commit to the concept of “free agency,” allowing Fellows to select a placement assignment and to work in the Congressional and/or Executive Branch host office without direction, influence or an agenda from the sponsoring organization;
 maintain sensitivity to both real and perceived conflicts of interest in all interactions with Fellows; and
 provide a mechanism, which includes consultation with AAAS, to withdraw a sponsored Fellow from the fellowship program if he/she violates ethics policies or behaves in a manner unbefitting a Science & Technology Policy Fellow (e.g. not demonstrating full commitment to the fellowship, illegal activity, unprofessional conduct, etc).
In addition, the following common elements of the fellowship programs are agreed to by the societies that partner and participate in the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships:
Application: Each applicant applies on his/her own initiative. The process involves an open competition. No outside instrumental endorsement or screening is sought or required.
AAAS Partnership Evaluation Guidelines 11/08 3
Criteria: Candidates must be PhD or equivalent level scientific professionals, or engineers with a master’s degree or higher, who demonstrate exceptional competence in their fields. Regardless of age or career stage, all applicants must demonstrate:
 solid scientific and technical credentials and the endorsement of two or more qualified references;
 a strong interest in applying their knowledge toward the solution of societal challenges;
 some awareness of the ways in which science, engineering and technology affect a broad range of non-scientific issues and sensitivity to political, economic and social factors; and
 willingness and flexibility to tackle problems beyond the scope of their specific area(s) of scientific or engineering expertise.
Also necessary are integrity and good judgment; the ability to communicate well, both verbally and in writing, to non-scientific audiences; and the capacity to work effectively with decision makers and others outside the scientific and engineering communities. In addition, candidates are expected to display maturity and self-direction, with the initiative and flexibility to work well independently as well as in groups.
Selection: Societies either establish an ad hoc selection committee or use an existing committee (e.g., public policy committee) as the screening/selection entity. The selection process is competitive, with professional excellence and suitability for the fellowship as the primary consideration. Selection committees and candidates also must be aware of possible conflict of interest concerns.
Placement: Fellows will work for one year on the staff of a Member of Congress or a congressional committee, or in an office of an executive branch agency, on topics relating generally to science or engineering. Fellows are free to choose their own placement and to work without direction, influence or an agenda from their sponsoring organization. AAAS administers the placement process for all Congressional Fellows. Congressional Fellows are not to solicit potential placements before the end of their orientation (varies, typically the third week of September each year).
Conflict of Interest: In cases where there may be a real or perceived conflict of interest in connection with a Fellow’s placement, the appropriate congressional ethics committee or agency ethics office must be contacted and any guidelines and/or requirements issued from that committee or office must be adhered to.
Some Fellows may receive outside funds from consulting or other activities. This remuneration must be communicated to the hosting office and accepted as part of the placement arrangement. The funding must not in any way influence the Fellow’s focus or activities and must adhere to the AAAS ethics policies and guidelines for the congressional or executive branch fellowships, and to the policies of the governing ethics committee or office.