About the Colloquium

About the Colloquium

The Colloquium:

  • Provides an overview of policy basics, and how decisions are made governing the course and future of earth and atmospheric sciences
  • Provides opportunities for participants to meet and dialog with the federal officials, Congressional staffers and others who make those decisions
  • Surveys current science policy issues
  • Uses the case study method to explore a limited number of issues, both past and present, in depth and detail
  • Helps participants build skills, experience, and contacts they can use throughout their careers to understand and influence the atmospheric policy process
  • Helps participants gauge their aptitude for and interest in the challenges of matching science to national priorities, and scientific program leadership


Who can attend?

  • Mid-level federal managers and scientists
  • Mid-level private-sector executives
  • University faculty
  • Selected graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of demonstrated scientific and leadership potential



  • Participation is limited to no more than 40 participants
  • Attendance at all sessions is required
  • $5800 registration fee includes all sessions, workshops, tours/briefings, and materials. Please note: the $5800 registration fee does not include room and board or travel.
  • Students and faculty members can apply for funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). A funding award from the NSF covers the registration fee, room and board, and travel. Faculty members must be from an HBCU or MSI in order to qualify for funding.
  • Sessions will take place in the AAAS Building
  • Hotel room block available at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center


Sample Agenda

Download the 2019 agenda here.

Please note participants are expected to attend all sessions. During lunch participants will have the pleasure of dining with the speakers and often use this time to work on group exercises you will be assigned. Multi-tasking during the sessions is highly discouraged and will lessen the impact of the course.


Reading materials

Each year we develop a reading list as a primer on science policy before you arrive for the Colloquium. Attendees review the materials in advance, as some sessions may assume knowledge of major concepts. In addition, attendees are assigned two case studies. The following are books read by previous groups:

  • The Honest Broker, by Roger Pielke
  • Beyond Sputnik By Tobin L. Smith, Homer A. Neal, and Jennifer B. McCormick
  • Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship Is Poisoning the U.S. House of Representatives,, by Juliet Eilperin
  • High Noon,  by J. F. Rischard
  • Environment and Statecraft, by Scott Barrett
  • Storm World, by Chris Mooney
  • CRS Primer (PDF)

Where Are They Now?

The first Summer Policy Colloquium was held in 2001 for about 40 bright minds from the AMS community who showed interest in and potential to contribute significantly to the policy process. To date, about 650 such individuals have completed the program. They have proceeded through their careers to roles such as:

  • Congressional staff in personal offices
  • Serving on congressional committees such as the Select Committee on Global Warming & Energy Independence
  • University leadership positions such as faculty chair and dean
  • NGO think tanks
  • High level government positions such as Regional Director of the NWS
  • Greater corporate sector responsibilities
  • AMS Policy Program