The dynamics between science and society are changing, from the politicization of science in government to growing local community movements such as those on climate action and water quality. These dynamics have driven many scientists to feel that we need to advocate more for science, a sentiment increasingly felt by our AMS members. The time is ripe to engage in important conversations on behalf of science and the AMS is well poised to provide a strong voice. The key is not just to advocate for science, but to engage effectively, particularly when it comes to policy.
There are many opportunities for the AMS to shape the policy discourse on the weather enterprise, climate change, environmental quality, and scientific integrity. With the politicization of science that we have witnessed recently, the AMS holds an authoritative voice to stand up for scientific integrity. Effective engagement requires cutting through the political noise to find the policy signal. Some scientific organizations have lost their efficacy by getting caught in the political vortex and continuously repeating the drumbeat of an anti-science government. It is more effective, and there are ample opportunities, for the AMS to offer more than political criticism by focusing instead on the implications of potentially losing good policy such as peer review or climate research.
In addition, the AMS has long focused on partnerships across the academic, public and private sectors. The traditional model is rapidly changing and ripe with new opportunities as big data, commercial data, artificial intelligence, exascale and quantum computing come into play. If the AMS explored this further, we could be creating new partnerships, technological advancements, business models, even growing the AMS membership with new tech sector members.
Whether to shape current discourse, course correct for bad politics, or pave new courses, I would like to help the AMS navigate contemporary dynamics and leverage new opportunities through effective policy and government affairs. My appreciation for policy and all three sectors stems from having served in both Republican and Democratic Administrations through my time at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and NOAA, teaching science policy at the graduate level, and focusing on technology policy at IBM.