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Current SPI & Affiliate Engagement Opportunities

See below for current opportunities for engaging with science policy through SPI programming or affiliate initiatives.


Have an idea for a new science policy initiative or a particular interest area that you don't see here?

Reach out on slack (best response rate), email, or twitter DM and we can help you find further resources or offer guidance on pursuing your idea - one of our main goals as an organization is to provide support and guidance for new efforts led by early career researchers at UVA and throughout Virginia!

Science Policy Bootcamp

UVA’s Science Policy Bootcamp is an opportunity for graduate students to learn about science policy, and meet people who have engaged in the process. It is designed to introduce concepts and skills, as well as expose participants to career paths in science policy.


science communication, learn, SPI, policy topics, policy process, advocacy, explore

Science Debate Virginia

SPI is part of a coalition of non-partisan science policy organizations who are committed to the importance of science and evidence in policymaking. We have joined together in partnership with Science Debate to develop and distribute a brief questionnaire regarding selected science policy topics that affect Virginia voters to candidates for public office in Virginia.

Science Debate is a national organization that has presented questionnaires to, and has received responses from, Presidential and other federal office candidates since 2007. The answers, posted on Science Debate’s website, have been viewed by millions of voters and covered by media organizations such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. In recent years, Science Debate has partnered with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), an organization composed of early career scientists and engineers interested in public policy, to submit questionnaires to candidates running for federal offices from various states, including Virginia.

To ensure candidates' voices come through to voters, we do not edit or comment on the content of their responses in any way - we play a neutral, non-partisan role in elevating the importance of science policy issues in election campaigns and in legislative action. We post responses publicly on Science Debate’s website (where presidential candidate responses have garnered as many as 850 million media impressions), notify our coalition memberships of the responses by email and social media, and work with the press to develop stories about the responses in print, online, and broadcast media.

In the era of COVID-19 and increasing voter concern about issues such as the costs of prescriptions and impacts of natural disasters, we believe that questions of science policy will be more important to Virginia voters than ever before.


science outreach, science communication, policymaker interaction, affiliate org, policy topics

Virginia Scientist-Community Interface (V-SCI)

The Virginia Scientist-Community Interface provides science support for community-driven activism and advocacy in Virginia and the region. This includes review of advocacy-relevant technical documents and providing science background on science-based advocacy issues. Our mission is to put science knowledge in the hands of the community.


learn, advocacy, affiliate org, apply skills, policy topics, science communication

Journal Club

The goal of SPI journal club meetings is to give participants opportunities to:

1. Read, analyze, and discuss topical science policy legislation with consideration for efficacy, equity, viability, etc.

2. Practice debating and discussing policy issues with colleagues

3. Develop skills that are required for successful policy-makers which might not be obtained during typical advanced science coursework

4. Learn about and discuss policy across all levels of government – local, state, federal, and international

Check out the Google Drive folder linked below for more information on the topics and source materials for past and upcoming meetings.

To receive updates about meetings, or to participate in planning, running, or suggesting topics for future meetings, join the #journal_club channel in the SPI Slack workspace.


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Career & Fellowship Panel

Learn about the wide variety of career paths within the realm of science policy, and the many fellowships that can help you get there. Join SPI slack via the "Learn More" button below if you would like to get involved with planning or get notified about upcoming events!


learn, SPI, low time commitment, explore

Scientists and Engineers Advising Legislation (SEAL)

We are a nonpartisan coalition of graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and other early-career scientists throughout Virginia focused on supporting science and evidence-based decision-making in our government.

We use our expertise across a variety of scientific and technical disciplines to:
(1) Educate lawmakers on important science topics relevant to Virginia.
(2) Help lawmakers distill complex technical information.
(3) Provide objective evaluation of a policy’s potential science impacts and identify unintended consequences.

We achieve these goals by:
(1) Providing testimony at public hearings and commissions
(2) Offering science advising services by request to e.g. synthesize information and provide impartial reports on issues of interest.

SEAL members complete this work on a volunteer basis. Any statements or comments presented are entirely our own and do not represent the position of our respective affiliations. Any institutional affiliations provided by our members are for identification purposes only. We do not receive compensation for this work and have no conflicts of interest to declare.


policy process, affiliate org, apply skills, policy topics, learn, policymaker interaction, science communication

Seminar Series

Explore specific policy topics, and learn ways in which science can inform policy and policy can affect science. Join SPI slack via the "Learn More" button below if you would like to get involved with planning or get notified about upcoming events!


explore, learn, policy process, policy topics, low time commitment, SPI

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