Mission

Science and technology play an integral part in solving many of society’s greatest challenges. Critical questions and effective solutions are found in a rich ecosystem of innovation, where scientists can choose many different challenging and fulfilling careers. These careers require much more than technical training; they require skills and mindsets for effective leadership, communication, and ethics which are typically not taught in STEM curricula. SCI training programs are designed to bring these necessary skills and mindsets to the scientific community.

We envision a future in which scientists are active citizens, working as interdisciplinary problem-solvers inside and outside of academia where they learn from others and share what they know and have a meaningful impact on their communities and society.

Read the Full SCI Mission

The Scientific Citizenship Initiative will accomplish the goal of improving the quantity and quality of interactions between scientists and society by:

 

  • Embedding skills and practical experience in scientific citizenship (ethics, communication, outreach, advocacy, governance, and leadership) within the training experience for STEM students at the graduate and undergraduate level, re-aligning training to meet the interests of a current generation of trainees motivated by the social and external impact of their work.
  • Supporting the retention of students in doctoral training, through learning activities that connect students (including women and underrepresented minorities) to collaborative projects with their own communities.
  • Supporting the retention of trainees in scientific careers or emerging careers, through the introduction of a revitalized training experience which explicitly prepares students for multi-dimensional careers which either include a combination of scientific research and interface with society at large or careers specializing in working on behalf of the scientific community in the arenas of government, industry, media or non-profits.
  • Introducing and sustaining interdisciplinary fellowships and executive education programs positioning participating institutions as leaders that provide formal training, curriculum, and resources for faculty and fellows interested in these careers, initially from the Boston community and eventually from a broader national pool.
  • Developing and sustaining a curriculum, events, and resources available to all members of the scientific community, who may be interested in taking advantage of modular training resources even if not able to commit to the full training experience.
  • Deliberately identifying and challenging cultural norms and that are inhibiting civic engagement at all scales of organization in science (eg. in labs, departments, and institutions), and testing solutions to overcome these barriers.
  • Providing an access point for organizations and members of the surrounding community to better engage with and understand the research enterprise, the work which takes place at participating institutions, and to understand how this work can be transformative for their own lives.
  • Serving as a medium through which community interests can be brought to the attention of the Boston academic community whose members can help tackle emerging social and ethical challenges; whether at the local, national or international level; and which depend on proficiency in collaborative problem-solving, advocacy, communication and policy.