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How to Engage

Opportunities to Submit Comments on Proposed Rules

Federal rulemaking is an important process that allows the White House and federal agencies to implement laws set forth by Congress or to set new policies and rules that can affect the use of science in policy, for example, environmental regulations or policies that can impact the conduct of science, for example, restrictions on student visas. In many of these cases, the government will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register and solicit public comments over a period typically 30-90 days.

This is an important opportunity for you to give your voice to the federal rulemaking process and while many societies — such as AAAS — do submit comments it is equally important that your individual voice be a part of this democratic process.

 

Opportunities to Engage in Federal Advisory Committees

Another way to engage is to serve on federal scientific advisory committees or nominate colleagues to serve as advisors. Most federal agencies publish notices seeking nominations in the Federal Register. In addition, these federal agencies will publish dates for their public meetings in the Federal Register, so you can attend as appropriate. It is a good way to learn what issues scientific advisory committees are discussing. Opportunities are listed below.

Working With Congress

Important forces bring science and government together. Congress makes decisions that directly affect researchers through the allocation of funding and guidelines for its use. Science and engineering also contribute to understanding a host of policy issues at the forefront of congressional debate ranging from perennial topics such as national security and climate change, to emerging issues such as nanotechnology and synthetic biology. 

Communication and understanding differences in how these processes develop is the key to bridging the gap between the mutually dependent cultures of science and government; this guide aims to provide this information for scientists.