NSPN 2020 Election Initiative

As part of the NSPN 2020 Election Initiative — an effort to promote science policy regarding critical issues in the US ahead of the 2020 election — we have a team focused on plastic pollution. We first published a meta-review, which is a resource for the public, policymakers, and journalists to facilitate learning about the issue. Now, we are working with Science Rising on a series of op-eds to communicate how the science of plastics informs what we can do to reduce plastic pollution.

Contact: Alex Epstein

Science Meets Science

Our group has won a grant from Research!America to host a series of three public forums and policy roundtables on scientific ethics motivated by the phrase: “We can, but should we?”. Our topics and timeline include:

  • November 2019 – After the Wildfires: Where should we live?
  • January 2020 – Don’t Have a Cow: Will fake meat save the planet?
  • March 2020 – Artificial Intelligence: It’s smart but is it just?

We are actively looking for experts and shaping the discussion, coordinating multimedia (video) coverage, logistics, and advocacy planning. To learn more, please contact Kim Huynh and Vetri Velan


Our member, Eric Lee, won the STEM Solutions in Public Policy Competition hosted by the UC Center Sacramento with a proposal to improve labeling standards for over-the-counter probiotics. His idea was developed into Assembly Bill 1178 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk, and is making its way through the California Legislature. To date, it has passed the health committees from each house and awaits a vote on the California Senate floor.

Contact: Eric Lee

2020 NSPN Symposium Bid

In collaboration with our neighboring science policy groups at UCSF and Stanford, we are putting together a bid to host the 2020 National Science Policy Network (NSPN) Symposium at UC Berkeley. For more information, contact Juliana Chase and Mark O’Dair.

Science Policy Certificate

In collaboration with campus partners, we are working to create a course-based Science Policy Certificate at UC Berkeley.

Contact: QinQin Yu


The STEMvotes team works to increase the number of STEM students registered and turning out to vote. Past initiatives have included hosting voter registration drives, voter information nights, and debate watch parties.

Contact: Alex Epstein

Science Policy Book Club

We host a book club to encourage members to read and discuss interesting books related to science policy. Check out some suggested reading from our members and guest speakers on our Resources page.

Contact: Erin Sullivan

Bay Area Science Policy Happy Hours

We host Bay Area science policy hours to foster collaboration and a community of science policy minded individuals with other Bay Area science policy groups. Updates can be found on our Calendar and Twitter.

Contact: David Faulkner

Sacramento Trips

We organize quarterly trips to the California State Capitol for students to meet with lawmakers and advocate for science-based policies such as electric vehicle and roof-top solar accessibility, overdose prevention, plant-based school lunch, and Hepatitis C research funding.

Contact: Erin Sullivan

2017 Tax Bill

We responded to the 2017 Tax Bill with a series of initiatives. This included calling representatives, writing a white paper, and designing a calculator to demonstrate the effects of the bill on graduate students.

Contact: Vetri Velan

2019 PG&E Bankruptcy – Policy Memo

In response to the 2018 California wildfires and subsequent PG&E bankruptcy, we wrote a policy memo to highlight several key topics for consideration as California lawmakers decide how to weigh in on these proceedings.

Contact: Chris Jackson

Our members regularly write op-eds on topics related to science policy for publications such as The Daily Cal. Past topics include: