Mission & Goals

The National Council for Science and the Environment's (NCSE) mission is to improve the scientific basis of environmental decisionmaking.


We envision a society where environmental decisions by everyone are based on an accurate understanding of the underlying science, its meaning and limitations, and the potential consequences of their action or inaction.

In such a society, all citizens and environmental decisionmakers:

  • Receive accurate, understandable, and integrated science-based information, including uncertainties and limitations;
  • Understand the risks, uncertainties, and potential consequences of societal and individual action or inaction; and
  • Provide the necessary support for activities that generate and communicate scientific understanding.

Approach to Mission

NCSE serves as a bridging organization that spans the divide between science, its applications, and policy.

NCSE builds innovative and effective connections and partnerships between those who generate, educate and communicate science relevant to the environment and those who seek to use science to guide decisions at local, state, national, and international levels.

By basing itself in the impartial use of science, and fostering an interconnected culture among all parties, NCSE has the ability to gain the trust of communities in disagreement or conflict. NCSE assists communities in jointly finding acceptable solutions to complex environmental challenges by using expert facilitation, problem solving processes, and fostering joint implementation.

All sciences and technical areas relevant to decisionmaking are recognized as important, especially their integration. This includes physical, biological, and social sciences as well as engineering. Also respected and utilized are basic and applied research, scientific synthesis and assessment, development of decisionmaking tools, formal and informal education, communication, and other processes that bring communities together to understand each other and collaborate in developing science-based solutions.

NSCE is a vigorous advocate for:

  • expanded, integrated and science-driven education and research on environmental issues;
  • creation and application of science-based, decision-making tools;
  • provision of targeted services for stakeholder mediation; and
  • communication of science-based information to diverse public audiences.

While an advocate for science and its use, NCSE does not take positions on environmental issues. Thus, we are able to provide a neutral forum for all.

Goals and Objectives

  • Expand the use of quality science in environmental decisions in government, business and by the public;
  • Improve the level of funding for environmental science and programs that connect science to users;
  • Educate the public and key communities about the relevance and importance of science to their lives and the environment and to finding solutions that meet environmental, social, and economic goals;
  • Improve the quality and relevance of academic environmental programs;
  • Build stronger relationships between universities and decision-makers in society;
  • Design, test, implement and promote innovative and effective approaches to achieving science-based environmental solutions;
  • Bring communities together to develop science-based solutions to environmental challenges;
  • Provide the public a comprehensive science-based information resource in a manner most useful to them;
  • Broaden the community who support NCSE to improve both its value and its financial stability.

In achieving these goals, NCSE seeks a blend of programs and initiatives driven by clients and those driven by public good. While recognizing the different operational styles and financial models that these different types of programs entail (e.g., restricted vs. unrestricted funds), all projects are rigorously managed according to timelines, budgets, deliverables, and in-house accountability through staff-wide commitment to project management tools.

In addition to targeted programs, NCSE is committed to strategy of “embedding” outreach to various communities (corporate, minority, international) into all of its programs. This strategy is one aspect of NCSE’s drive to build synergies between its efforts and strengthening its relations to various communities.