The Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) is a tremendously valuable resource for professional associations and the individuals who represent the associations at the semi-annual CSSP meetings. The meetings offer informative presentations by first rate scientists about current trends and developments in the sciences and science policy. In addition, they provide valuable opportunities for networking, discussion, and exchange across the disciplinary boundaries of the scientific associations represented. At a time when interdisciplinary collaboration across science and social science disciplines are becoming increasingly important, CSSP and the networking and information sharing opportunities it offers are invaluable.
The semi-annual meetings of the Council of Scientifc Presidents has been informative on very important topics related to science, technology, and science policy. The meetings always facilitate making connections with leaders and pioneers in the field. Presidents of scientific organizations are not only informed on important scientific-political events, but they also have an opportunity to have direct access to the leaders who make science and technology policy. It is an organization where all the presidents of leading scientific organization can gather and discuss common shared goals.
The Council of Scientific Society Presidents has semi-annual meetings of many scientific society presidents and officers. Every meeting that I have attended has made me rethink some very important ideas related to science, technology, and society. The meetings have me more effective as a leader and as a citizen. In addition, it keeps me informed about important scientific-political events.
For some 15 years I have participated in the CSSP twice-yearly meetings, as well as other activities. During the first 12-13 years I was VP for Research at Arizona State U, Kansas U, and the U Texas System of 15 universities. During thie time I initiated the University VP for Research group within the CSSP. We had a panel of VPRs at one of the CSSP meetings. At several we had a special session in which VPRs and others collaborated in forwarding pol, cy for the nation's science agenda. Two years ago I started a different career, as the first Vice President, Science Policy, for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans in Science. In this capacity, the CSSP has helped expedite contacts enabling me to nominate diverse candidates as Science Advisor for the State Department as well as for other, similar positions. The CSSP brings together key people in science policy and provides a forum in which they can successfully interact. President Marty Apple does an outstanding job with the collective group as well as individually.
CSSP does many things extremely well in support of scientific and educational societies and associations. Its meetings are informative and cover timely topics, and feature speakers of highest caliber from industry and government. Also, CSSP meetings provide invaluable networking opportunities among industry leaders. This is a great organization serving not only its members but also contributing to the nation’s scientific progress.
The Council of Scientific Society Presidents provides an invaluable resource to our professional associations. Specifically, the CSSP meetings focus on current trends and forecasts in the sciences, the role of science and technology for R&D and for education, and provides opportunities for the presidents of each association to form viable and thriving professional networks. At each meeting, I personally have formed productive collaborations with other presidents, which in turn has enabled us to continue innovative partnerships. As a female leader, the CSSP has also been very helpful in providing executive leadership through seminars with the pre-eminent scholars in the field.
The Council of Scientific Society Presidents is one of the most critical organizations for scientific leadership in the country. Often times scientists are elected to leadership positions in the nations scientific societies because of their outstanding scientific discoveries or scientific status rather than for their leadership abilities and organizational skills. The CSSP addresses this gap in skill sets and provides for leadership training from the countries leading experts in management. The Society is much more; meeting twice yearly the Society membership is provided with the latest advances across all of the different fields of science and in adddition members are introduced to the latest in innovative topics within science. Each session is also accompanied by discussions of current political importance and members are encouraged to meet with congressmembers and government officials to understand the key issues of the day. The CSSP is an outstanding resource for government officials and provides exceptional experience for the nations scientific society presidents in a range of topics that are of critical importance to the advancement of science.
The December, 2009, meeting of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents in Washington, D.C., stands out as perhaps the best and most stimulating meeting I have ever attended, coming just six months before my retirement after 51 years as a professional geoscientist. The presentations were remarkably stimulating and intellectually challenging, and most importantly they highlighted specific needs for scientific leadership in decision making in both government and industry. I will cite two examples. Dr. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University began a “Review of energy solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security” with a ranking of effects and impacts of energy production, including abundance of resources, carbon dioxide emission, air pollution, water consumption, footprint on the ground and required spacing, ability to match peak demand, effects on ecosystems, thermal pollution, and water pollution. The primary conclusion is that a combination of wind, solar (photovoltaic and concentrated solar power), geothermal, wave, tidal, and hydroelectric can supply enough electricity for all world needs for energy, including battery-electric and hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles. Furthermore, these alternative sources of energy have a much smaller impact on atmospheric composition (both greenhouse gases and other pollutants) than do coal (even with carbon capture and sequestration), ethanol, or nuclear. That perspective on the use of carbon capture and sequestration set the stage for a later presentation by Dr. Christine Economides, a petroleum engineer at Texas A&M University. Dr. Economides and her colleagues have shown through modeling of reservoir volumes that the capacity for carbon sequestration is a formidable challenge and may render the process impractical. Considering the necessity for energy in the context of negative impacts of energy production is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our day, and the discussions at CSSP provide a scientific forum to hear and debate all sides of the issue. CSSP clearly provides leadership and leadership development for issues that require understanding of science; participation has improved my leadership skills, as well as my understanding of issues.
CSSP meets twice annually and the meetings are effective on a variety of frronts. They build leadership in America's scientific societies. They allow networking and provide an effective voice on behalf of America's second largest collection of scientists. They allow busy people to stay current on cutting edge science topics. They bring science leaders face-to-face with science policy leaders so one leaves the meetings fully informed on the direction of U.S. science policy. Meetings have enough continuity to maintain cohesion and momentum and yet enough change to keep material fresh. Highly effective and efficient organization.
CSSP convenes science and technology leaders twice yearly with chances to hear of policy developments in Washington affecting science and technology, to get briefings from scientific leaders (e.g. Nobel Laureates) on their work, and have an opportunity to meet with policy makers. This powerful voice for the nations scientific work is critical.