Programs: Science and Policy
The State of Science Policy:
A Festschrift on the occasion of the retirement of Albert H. Teich
On December 15, 2011, AAAS held a symposium to honor Albert H. Teich upon his retirement from the association after 32 years of service. An account of the symposium itself was written up for the aaas.org website and is available here.
Like this volume, the symposium was intended as an exploration of contemporary topics in science policy. Over the course of a distinguished career, Al made contributions both broad and deep to the field. The range and significance of his contributions are reflected only in part by the topics and authors in this book, as well as the speakers and attendees of the symposium.
Al started at AAAS in 1980 as Manager of Science Policy Studies. AAAS had by that time begun a number of its still-ongoing efforts in connecting the science and engineering communities to the world of policy and broader societal interests, including having established several Board-appointed committees. The Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPP) had been established in 1973; the AAAS-American Bar Association National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists had been established in 1974; the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (CSFR) had been established in 1976. Also, several signature programs had begun, including the S&T Policy Fellowships program (which had its first class in 1973) and the R&D Budget and Policy Program, which had started producing an annual analytic report on R&D in the federal budget and sponsoring an annual Colloquium on R&D policy in 1976 (which in 2001 was renamed the AAAS Forum on S&T Policy). He came, then, at a time of the Association's growing awareness of the value of science policy activities.
His first responsibilities at AAAS included directing the R&D Budget and Policy Project (now called a program) and serving as staff officer for two committees (COSEPP and CSFR). He took on an increasing number of responsibilities over time, recognized by title changes to Head of the Office of Public Sector Programs in 1984, then Director of Science and Policy Programs in 1990. By 2010 when he stepped down as director, the Science and Policy Programs included the S&T Policy Fellowships and R&D Budget and Policy Programs, as well as the Center of Science, Technology and Congress (now the Office of Government Relations); the Research Competitiveness Program; the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion; the Program on Science and Human Rights; and the Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and the Law Program (the latter two now merged as the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law Program). He also oversaw the AAAS Archives and the founding and production of both the weekly AAAS Policy Alert newsletter and the annual AAAS Leadership Seminar in S&T Policy. In 2011 he served half-time as senior policy advisor to AAAS, and in 2012, having retired from AAAS, he became a research professor in the Center for International Science & Technology Policy at George Washington University. By the time of his retirement, then, the programs he oversaw and nurtured had blossomed into a significant presence at AAAS, in Washington, and in the field of science policy, altogether comprising about 40 people and with an annual budget of approximately $13 million (of which 85 percent came from external sponsors).
A book he first published in 1972, Technology and the Future, is now in its 12th edition, and has become the world's best-selling college text on technology and society. While at AAAS he contributed to numerous articles and books, made innumerable presentations, testified multiple times before Congressional committees, and participated on advisory committees in the U.S. and around the world. He became a Fellow of AAAS in 1986, received an Award for Scientific Achievement in Science Policy from the Washington Academy of Sciences in 2004, and became an honorary member of the Washington Science Diplomats Club that same year. He was a constant presence in the Washington science policy circles and frequently sought-after as a commentator and advisor on issues across the span of things we characterize as "science and technology policy" as well as "science in society."
His good humor, his hobbies, and his family were never far. He managed to combine his passions in several ways, including organizing with his wife Jill Pace symposia on such topics as the science of kissing (one of the most-reported symposia from the AAAS Annual Meeting of 2009) and the science of ice cream (AAAS Annual Meeting in 2002); and he managed to convince a former major league baseball player to participate in a symposium he organized with Stephen Jay Gould on the science of baseball (AAAS Annual Meeting, 2000). His photographs are on the walls of AAAS and the National Press Club, among other places.
Because of the range of topics he covered, it has been both easy and difficult to choose the topics for the symposium and this volume - easy in that there are many topics from which to choose, but difficult to narrow down to a digestible set. Each chapter is written by a long-standing colleague of Al's. The editors are grateful to the authors for their contributions. However, the opinions expressed are those of the authors and not intended to represent their institutions nor AAAS. The editors wish to assure the reader that omissions and mischaracterizations are entirely our own doing, and should not reflect on either the chapter authors nor on Al.
First in the volume is an analysis of the federal investment in R&D. No science policy volume would be complete without one. This remains a core element of the science policy work at AAAS and a focus of the annual S&T Policy Forum. It was also Al's first responsibility at AAAS.
Chapters on space policy; misconduct and integrity in science; the science policy workforce; and the science of science policy follow. These reflect areas where Al has conducted research, published articles, convened conferences, advised policy makers, and otherwise contributed to the advancement of policy and practice in the field. For coverage of other topics — such as public understanding of science, international science and national science policy, science and security, technology transfer, research competitiveness, the role of national labs, and mechanisms for advice to policy makers, to name just a few — the reader will have to refer to his body of work. This body keeps growing, by the way — at the time of this printing, he is working on a project regarding visa issues for foreign scientists and engineers.
A final discussion on the meaning of science policy itself comes from Eugene Skolnikoff, who had served as Al's dissertation supervisor at MIT. The chapter elegantly serves to remind us to stop in the middle of doing what we do to reflect on the nature and meaning of what we do.
On behalf of all of us who have had the pleasure of working with Al, we offer this set of essays as a tribute and a thanks for his work and effort on behalf of AAAS and the science and science policy communities. His contributions and his leadership have made a significant difference to us all, and his legacy will persist for a very long time. As we did at the close of the symposium (see picture), we applaud Al.
by DC photographer Marty Katz