Science and technology deeply influences our everyday existence and as time progresses, it grows in importance. With climate change, a decrease in resources, the rise of globalization and the expansion of global communication, the need for input from and collaboration with the broader society is imperative to education and research institutions. This is a two way exchange with the community benefiting from the knowledge and data that pertains to issues they deem to be of significance such as environmental impact studies of questionable chemicals or innovation in methods of urban transportation. Equally, researchers and educators stand to benefit greatly from relationships with regional communities as sources of feedback and locations for studies.
CSTPP works in the space where science and policy meet. We do this through numerous avenues. We assist in helping researchers communicate about their discoveries that may help the greater society. Including conferences on pertinent issues, such as Green Chemistry in Minnesota, allowing researchers to discuss alternatives to petroleum based chemicals and how new legislation in this state and others could benefit the environment and the society. Additionally, we connect researchers with policy makers, to alert legislators to new technologies that could influence future policy or new innovation in a particular field that could benefit the community by having the attention and funding of the state.
The importance of science and technology on American competitiveness in the global economy can not be understated. However, the U.S. is lagging behind the majority of other developed and developing nations. The issue of maintaining children’s interest in science and math is one of the sources of the disparity. Programs outside of school have proven to improve the performance of students in all academic areas, including a significant increase in performance of high school math. Robotics clubs or programs such as GEMS (Girls in Math and Science) offer opportunities for children to expand their knowledge and experience in these areas. However, many of these programs are underfunded.
The University itself undertakes many aspects of public education by holding seminars, lectures and continuing education classes related to science issues for the community
Perhaps one of the most important roles that CSTPP has taken is to connect different organizations, educators, researchers and community leaders with each other on issues of science, technology, policy and education. Here are a few examples: