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Established in 2023, the Caltech Center for Science, Society, and Public Policy (CSSPP) provides a forum for research and debate on topics at the intersection of science and society. The goal is twofold: To learn and educate about current science policy and its institutional stakeholders, and to shape science policy by building on Caltech's scientific expertise.
Among its initiatives, CSSPP will bring policymakers and stakeholders to campus for distinguished lectures, colloquia, discussion panels, and workshops.
In addition, the center will develop and support a set of undergraduate and graduate courses that cover issues in science policy and science ethics. These educational goals are complemented by research pursued within the center and by funding research endeavors across Caltech that engage with the societal impact of scientific advances or that explore the regulatory landscapes of specific scientific domains. The CSSPP supports a broad engagement between science and policy without a specific disciplinary focus. The center nonetheless places a deliberate emphasis on research areas in which the Caltech community can contribute experience and expertise.
In 2023–2024, the research areas the center will focus on are climate change and sustainability, the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI), and bioethics. Each of these substantive areas is one where Caltech has existing research strengths, and in which researchers are already collaborating through research centers and programs such as the Resnick Sustainability Institute, the Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, the Center for Social Information Sciences (CSIS), and the Merkin Institute for Translational Research. Through collaborations with these existing programs at Caltech, the CSSPP will facilitate stronger connections between Caltech scientific research and the policymaking process. Any Caltech faculty or students who have research interest and projects in these areas are encouraged to contact the center co-directors.