The role of science policy with the USDA-ARS in Newport, OR

Science policy with the USDA-ARS

My understanding of science policy has changed as I’ve been able to see how government organizations like the USDA-ARS are working with the public or industries like the oyster aquaculture industry in the Pacific Northwest.

For the project I’ve been working on, the USDA-ARS has partnered with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and researchers from Oregon State University among scientists from other organizations. They are all working on a project that has a purpose of improving shellfish aquaculture while simultaneously preserving the local environment. In this situation, government entities are working with members of the shellfish aquaculture industry to come up with sustainable solutions that will benefit both people and the environment.

I have come to understand that in Oregon, there are a lot of partnerships between scientists both from universities and government organizations to fisheries. The coastal waters are very productive so they are an area of interest for research and for fishing industries. Since their work is inherently tied to the fishing industries, it is important for scientists to make connections with local fishing groups.

My involvement in science policy

I personally have not been involved in science policy processes such as agency-level meetings, but I have been able to make observations from listening to the scientists I work with and reading research articles. I definitely think it is very important for scientists to work with policy makers and the public to come up with well-rounded solutions that benefit communities and the environment. In the future, I would like to work as a government scientist taking into consideration the public and local industries when informing policy related to research.

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