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Science Outside the Lab

Science Outside the Lab

Science Outside the Lab

The Future of Nanotechnology

"Science Outside the Lab" is a workshop in Washington, D.C. that explores the relationships among science, innovation, policy, and societal outcomes. This customized one week version, sponsored by the Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest (NCI-SW), will investigate the context of nanotechnology decision-making in government and business at the local, state, federal, and international levels. During the week-long workshop participants meet and interact with groups of people who fund, regulate, shape, critique, publicize, and study nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. This includes people like congressional staffers, lobbyists, funding agency officers, regulators, journalists, academics, museum curators, and others.

Science Outside the Lab brings a small cohort of graduate student scientists and engineers into a participatory learning environment, allowing extensive access to speakers and educational opportunities. The goal is to expose participants to as many different viewpoints as possible and help them understand how people and institutions influence and learn from science.

Graduate students affiliated with NCI-SW and other nodes of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) who are interested in how decisions are made about science and innovation funding, regulation, and policy are encouraged to apply to this program. NCI-SW will cover the program fees, transportation, and some meals for those applicants chosen to participate.

The 2019 Nano edition of SOtL will be held June 2-8.

Application form for the
2019 NNCI-sponsored Science Outside the Lab workshop.

Due Date: March 1, 2019

Program Alumni Testimonials

“We may think of the lab as the residence of science. The place where the thinking happens, and the discoveries are made. And for many graduate students, including myself, the scope of research tends to stay within this bubble. But there’s a larger picture beyond the lab, whether it be current challenges related to science at a regulatory or policy level, or what the outcomes of research may have on the public. It is a vast space, and the Science Outside the Lab (SotL) program has provided first-hand experience of this larger view of science.

My time with SotL has helped me to see what I can do, as a scientist, to link my work to the larger conversation about science. I feel as though I’ve reinvented myself as a scientist as I move forward and apply this new multidisciplinary lens to my research. It’s motivated me to initiate new collaborations and expand the breadth of my graduate work, actions that may have otherwise not occurred if I had not had the opportunity to explore this novel perspective to the academic landscape.”

            - Pat McGurrin, PhD Candidate, Neuroscience, ASU, 2016 Nano SOtL participant

“Through the many conversations, site visits, and activities I experienced during SOtL: The Future of Nanotechnology, I gained an awareness for the intersection of science and policy in the United States. Expanding my perspective beyond the laboratory is certainly something that will be valuable throughout my graduate career and beyond. Most of all, I learned the importance of effectively communicating science to the public and career opportunities for trained scientists in the science policy space.”

            - Diane Haiber, PhD Candidate, Materials Engineering, ASU, 2016 Nano SOtL participant

"I thoroughly enjoyed my week in the SOTL program, an eye-opening experience into how different policymakers and stakeholders interface and engage with science. Over the course of a week, our group spoke to people from all three branches of government and various lobbyists and funding agencies. It was absolutely amazing to experience this in DC where each conversation had a distinct backdrop -- the Supreme Court, the EPA, the Senate office. I walked in hoping to learn more about how the government uses scientific information to make funding decisions, but the program ultimately prompted me to reflect more deeply on the responsibilities that scientists have in both designing socially conscious research and sharing it in a way that avoids misconceptions."

           - Cathy Zhang, PhD Candidate, Applied Physics, Harvard University, 2018 Nano SOtL participant

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