image title

Writers envision the next 75 years of science policy

November 10, 2022

A new book of essays provides inspiring science, technology ideas that can transform society

Featured writers in a new book were given a major mission — to envision future science policies and share them with the world. 

Book cover for "The Next 75 Years of Science Policy"

“The Next 75 Years of Science Policy” presents a wide range of visions for how science might serve society in the coming years. Released in September, the book showcases a collection of nearly 50 powerful essays that authors hope will provide inspiring ideas that can transform society.

“The essays presented a kind of a kaleidoscope of how to use the resources of science over the coming century,” said Lisa Margonelli, editor-in-chief for Issues in Science and Technology, which originally published the essays. “Some writers wanted to change a basically successful system by giving it a few tweaks. Others had really revolutionary ideas.”

The volume has a forward-looking theme, with everyone from scientists and government officials to up-and-coming researchers and business leaders contributing their public policy ideas for the future. 

Lindy Elkins-Tanton, vice president of the Arizona State University Interplanetary Initiative, contributed the essay "Time to Say Goodbye to Our Heroes?" It makes the case for replacing the principal investigator research model with a more interdisciplinary approach. 

ASU President Michael Crow penned the foreword and introduction to the book, along with Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academies of Sciences, and Cynthia Friend, president of the Kavli Foundation. The foundation supported the book’s editing and publication. 

All of the essays were original published during the past two years in the journal Issues in Science and Technology, an engaging, intellectual platform where researchers, policymakers and business leaders share their ideas related to science and technology, creating a dialogue that has impacted U.S. and global public policy. The publication is a partnership between ASU and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

ASU News spoke with Margonelli about the new book.

Editor's note: The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Question: Where did the idea for the book come from? 

Answer: In 2020, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and ASU were approached by the Kavli Foundation to look back at the last 75 years of science policy and get engaged thinkers to contemplate how we should set science policy for the next 75 years. 

The way we invest in science in this country all comes from a very influential report titled "Science, The Endless Frontier." It was written about 75 years ago — in 1945 — by the late Vannevar Bush, director of what was then the Office of Scientific Research and Development and sent to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The ideas in that memo set the pattern for how we invest in science and technology in this country. So with the book, we tried to imagine how the next 75 years could look. 

Q: How were contributors to the book selected?

A: Some are people who've been big players in science policy for a really long time — people like Norman R. Augustine and Neal Lane, who have put out highly influential white papers and really changed the focus of policy and competitiveness over the years — as well as leaders at the National Science Board such as astronaut Ellen Ochoa. And some thinkers who were influential scientists but hadn’t written much about science policy before — like ASU’s Lindy Elkins Tanton.

And then, some of the contributors are up-and-coming people with fresh ideas. We were looking for a diversity of thoughts and perspectives. We tried to build a really big tent to have the biggest possible discussion about what kind of future we want and how we might get there.

Q: What were some of the urgent or important issues that the book brought to light?

A: There is a really insightful piece called "Stuck in 1955, Engineering Education Needs a Revolution" by Sheryl Sorby, Norman L. Fortenberry and Gary Bertoline. They questioned the way engineers are educated, which is still based on a template developed in 1955 — a philosophy of winnowing out students through certain foundational classes. And so, the people who become engineers have to make it through that particular maze.

What that means is that you only have a certain kind of problem-solver and you won't have a diverse crowd there — and they may not be able to solve some of today’s complex socio-technical problems. That article generated a lot of conversation and led to a virtual conversation with hundreds of participants. 

And then we had an inspiring piece, "Creating a New Moral Imagination for Engineering," from ASU’s Darshan Karwat, a young scholar at ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, who wants engineering to develop a sense of moral imagination, which is really important for connecting the discipline with younger scientists and people who are interested in changing the world

Q: The essays in the book come from the publication Issues in Science and Technology. How and why was Issues created?

A: Issues was created by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 1984. It was started as a way of bringing new perspectives and conversations to democratic decision-making. ASU became a full partner in the magazine in 2013.

The difference between us and an academic journal is pretty straightforward — academic journals really speak from one academic to another. They are a closed discussion within experts. We are having a wider, broader discussion. We bring lots and lots of different people to the discussion. We try to make our discussions interdisciplinary and very accessible. We also invite decision makers and business people into the conversation.

And we're not peer reviewed. This is a journal of opinion and we work with every author to make their argument as strong as possible.

We are not like other technology magazines, which are likely to have articles like "Six Technologies that are Going to Change the World." Instead we have something like seven big questions we should ask about virtual reality. Tech magazines tend to see technology as an inevitable force, whereas we see it as something that is continually shaped by policies and human values. 

And one of the things that's really key to our vision, which animates me and the whole incredible Issues team, is that we really believe that policies for science and technology need to be designed for the betterment of society. 

Q: The book is forward-looking. How do you hope it will direct the course of science and technology related policies over the next 75 years?

A: My big hope is that we stop talking about science and technology policies purely in the sense of where the money goes and start talking about the world we intend to create. We know that we can really help young scientists by supporting them better  and we can work with interdisciplinary teams to solve big problems, so we can build on some of the policies that were incredibly successful over the last 75 years and adopt new methods for even greater success in the future. 

And finally, we hope to inspire more conversation and vision about how to use the tools of science and technology to really create better lives for more people.

Top photo courtesy iStock

Reporter , ASU News

image title
April 25, 2022

ASU storytellers connect to serve, shape the public conversation

In matters of mathematics, cross-multiplication is used to find common denominators, transform fractions and accelerate problem solving.

In manners of mass communication, ASU Media Enterprise is fast becoming a common denominator, a cross multiplier of audience fractions and an accelerator for transmedia storytelling.

Reimagining the models of journalism and mass communication is the nexus that brings together the parts that compose ASU Media Enterprise. A growing collection of media properties committed to driving conversations that matter, ASU Media Enterprise is convening to scale ASU’s covenant to advance research and discovery of public value and assume fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.

Under the leadership of Mi-Ai Parrish, managing director of the Media Enterprise and former publisher for The Arizona Republic, representatives from several ASU-affiliated media properties recently gathered at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix to combine resources and establish a foundational framework to move forward as a collective. 

 ASU Media Enterprise

Mi-Ai Parrish

“One of the things we are trying to do is make the most of all this talent, give connections that amplify the content and the message of all the wonderful things we do while still making sure each entity remains special,” Parrish said at the March 31 gathering, which included representatives from Arizona PBS, Future Tense, Global Futures Productions, Global Sport Matters, Indian Country TodayIssues in Science and Technology, Leonardo, Transformations and Zócalo Public Square.

Tracking the growing inventory of ASU media assets and channels, ASU President Michael Crow sees power in numbers and potential in the crossover opportunities ASU Media Enterprise aims to provide.

“We have an opportunity here to innovate, to problem-solve on a national scale,” Crow said. “We can build on successful models, add opportunities, explore partnerships and collaborate on innovative experiments through the Media Enterprise.”

A media state of mind

The like media minds are already in a problem-solving “State of Mind” — a collaborative project led by Future Tense, the online magazine partnership of Slate, New America and ASU that focuses on emerging technologies, public policy and society.

“State of Mind” is bringing contributors together to share wide-ranging perspectives on the subject of mental health, the yields of which will include science policy viewpoints on mental health systems from Issues, the award-winning policy journal co-published by ASU and the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine; conversations around the impact of mental health on high-performing athletes from Global Sport Matters, the multimedia platform of the Global Sport Institute at ASU; and personal narratives around mental illness through Transformations, the online magazine portal to ASU’s narrative storytelling initiative — all illustrative of how the engines of ASU Media Enterprise can and are mobilizing media to widely articulate and address big issues in society.

Unique collaborations are also emerging from the diverse and burgeoning Media Enterprise landscape. A new partnership between ASU-owned Arizona PBS in Phoenix and Zócalo Public Square, a nonprofit creative unit of ASU based in Los Angeles, is one such collaboration that shows the enterprise’s function as a cross-multiplier at work.

With ASU as a common denominator, Arizona PBS and Zócalo found a collaborative solution for their content and distribution needs in late 2021. The broadcast partnership now channels content curated from Zócalo’s almost 20-year archive of recorded events to viewers of the Arizona PBS World channel and is reaching new audiences outside of Los Angeles for Zócalo as a result. 

Moving its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to ASU’s Cronkite School in 2019 has also resulted in production expansion and new audience reach for Indigenous-focused Indian Country Today. The digital news publication is enjoying gains in content reach beyond the print medium with the production of a weekday news show that began airing on Arizona PBS in 2020.

Patty Talahongva, host and executive producer of Indian Country Today, says the partnership is also helping public TV stations increase their coverage of Native American communities, adding that viewer response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People have contacted me from across the country, and they always start out by saying, 'I’m not Native but I like your newscast,' and sometimes they say, ‘Is it OK if I watch?’” Talahongva said. She said that her response is always “yes” and “please tell all of your other non-Native friends to watch.”

Cross functional channels

Some ASU media collaborators are also forging partnerships with external media outlets, like the partnership that has evolved between Zócalo and the Los Angeles Times. Zócalo, working with Times opinion editors, is now producing op-ed content for the Times to distribute as exclusive first publications in print, online and additional formats.

Transformations also holds independent publisher status with the Los Angeles Review of Books and recently signed a partnership with Temple University Press to publish books along the themes of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, according to Steven Beschloss, Transformations’ executive editor.

Beschloss says Transformations literally has been transformative for ASU scholars and others looking to share their research and perspective through the personal narrative format that drives the channel.

“The successful ones are always embedded in a larger social, political, economic, cultural context,” Beschloss said. “A lot of people from ASU, but also faculty and academics from elsewhere, oftentimes have no experience writing narrative and no experience thinking about what you need to write a narrative, which is about observations. But that door opens, and suddenly you find really interesting people who have something really interesting to say when they let themselves go there.”

Highlighting her enterprise’s growing suite of media platforms that also includes engagement with MIT Press, Diana Ayton-Shenker — CEO of ASU-affiliated Leonardo/International Society of Art, Science, Technology — said she was open to engaging with and supporting the efforts of ASU Media Enterprise to grow the interests of the growing collective.

“We are focused on the arts, science, technology,” Ayton-Shenker said. “So interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, creative, forward-looking, outside-the-box, blow your mind — imagine what that could be.”

Global rise and reach

What ASU Media Enterprise could be is a lot of things, in addition to growing individual media channels into the best versions of themselves with the support of the larger enterprise, according to Parrish.

She says collaborating as a collective is an important starting point in the Media Enterprise’s aim to elevate storytelling and create a content pipeline across the ASU network to provide information to the public and scale channels for narrative research in the ongoing global effort to solve for “x.”

“We want to develop programs that really support the economic, social, cultural and overall health of people and communities,” she said. “We want to create connections, whether that’s using existing media properties, using ASU spaces or through live and virtual events. The Media Enterprise, with all of these connected media properties, can literally help us expand knowledge across the country and around the world.” 

Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

Suzanne Wilson

Sr. Media Relations Officer , Media Relations & Strategic Communications


Zócalo Public Square announces op-ed partnership with Los Angeles Times

Relationship between contributor and publication to grow audiences, readership

January 18, 2022

Zócalo Public Square, an ASU Knowledge Enterprise, has entered an agreement with the Los Angeles Times that will significantly enhance the visibility of Zócalo Public Square’s network of contributing authors and expand ideas-journalism offerings published in the Los Angeles Times’ opinion section.

Under the exchange agreement, Zócalo, working with Times opinion editors, will produce op-ed content the Times will distribute as exclusive first publications in print, online and additional formats.  Download Full Image

“This new partnership between the Zócalo Public Square and Los Angeles Times is designed to connect our audiences with original and illuminating ideas and journalism," said Mi-Ai Parrish, managing director of Media Enterprise at Arizona State University. "We are looking forward to working together.”

Terry Tang, acting editor of the Los Angeles Times editorial page, said: “I’m thrilled that we can work with Zócalo’s editors to present urgent and provocative essays to our readership.”

Zócalo and the Times’ opinion section already partnered on an op-ed on the future of agriculture in California, which appeared in the Jan. 9 edition of the Los Angeles Times, the largest U.S. newspaper headquartered on the West Coast. The article was written by Stephanie Pincetl, a professor of environmental and sustainability studies at UCLA.

“Working collaboratively with our hometown newspaper serves to elevate both Zócalo and the LA Times and to connect more people to more ideas and each other,” said Moira Shourie, executive director of Zócalo Public Square.

In addition to the Los Angeles Times, the contributor agreement allows for Zócalo content to be translated into Spanish for publication via Los Angeles Times en Español, syndicated through the Tribune News Service, and shared on social media and affiliated digital, audio and video platforms.

Suzanne Wilson

Sr. Media Relations Officer, Media Relations & Strategic Communications