In 2005-2006, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) revisited and revised its strategic plan adopted in 2000. The following reflects the current thinking of the NCSE Board, its staff, and other key advisors.
Value and Strategic Approach
NCSE provides value to society, with a programmatic emphasis on four broadly defined communities:
- Education and Research: NCSE has great strength to foster and lead strong partnerships among educators in secondary and post-seconday institutions and scientists within environmental and energy fields. NCSE creates programs and collaborations that improve academic scholarship, enhance the quality of training for those entering the environmental workforce and on their path to being leaders of tomorrow, and ensure more environmentally literate students.
- Government: NCSE science policy objectives are designed to guide governments at all levels toward effective environmental solutions through improved production and use of science combined with better connections to stakeholders.
- Businesses and environmental professionals: NCSE recognizes the novel challenges to environmental decisionmaking by this community and builds stronger scientific connections and understanding to enhance the opportunities for economic gains that improve the environment.
- Public: NCSE works with broad networks of partners to build greater understanding of science relevant to the environment and improve the ability of the general public to make informed decisions in an ever more technical world.
NCSE operates programs and initiatives in five strategic areas that are targeted at the above communities:
Strategic Area 1: Strengthening Education and Career Development
NCSE will conduct programs to increase the number, quality and diversity of people capable of bringing science to bear on today's critical environmental challenges. We aim to support and build the capacity of:
- Scientists capable of addressing environmental problems in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary manner
- Environmental professionals who bring a holistic approach to environmental challenges
- Individuals who can communicate technical knowledge in a manner that non-specialists can understand
- Citizens and policy makers who appreciate the value of science and are prepared to be guided by it to the extent that it is relevant
- Traditionally under-represented groups in environmental fields, and so tapping the latent talent of people in every community
Strategic Area 2: Science Solutions
Through the Science Solutions program, NCSE aims to transform scientific information into useful knowledge for decisionmaking and practical tools for researchers and professionals. It is designed to meet the specific needs of participants and end-users, constraints of resources and time, and the real-world details of the particular environmental issue addressed. NCSE has many core competencies which it can bring to bear on Science Solutions:
- Expertise in convening and facilitating dialogue among a range of stakeholders from different communities in forums where they can work together. This can mean a variety of funders addressing a shared challenge, an agency reaching out to a variety of communities, or communities in conflict over a particular issue.
- Ability to manage a grants and contracts program to facilitate the development of decision-making tools that require scientific and technical ability outside of participating stakeholder organizations and that is often scattered across disciplines, institutions and locations.
- Capacity to disseminate knowledge and tools to decision-makers from a variety of organizations and locations in a form which can readily be used.
Strategic Area 3: National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment
NCSE aims to catalyze solutions-oriented collaborations through convening an annual national conference that brings together 800-1,200 scientists, educators, policy makers, and corporate and civic leaders from diverse fields to explore the connections between science and decisionmaking associated with a particular high-profile environmental issue facing society.
The annual John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture on Science and the Environment, which is organized as part of the conference, provides a high profile forum for communicating the importance and potential for science in environmental decision-making by featuring a renowned expert in the field and publishing and disseminating a professional report on the lecture nationally and internationally.
Strategic Area 4: Communicating Science-Based Information
As part of our public education strategic goal, NCSE aims to provide access to a comprehensive source of understandable science-based information on the web. To achieve this, NCSE has created the Environmental Information Coalition and launched the Encyclopedia of Earth. Currently, over 1,400 scholars, experts and educators from 60 countries have contributed comprehensive and accessible resources for students, professionals, policy makers and the general public.
Strategic Area 5: Promoting Science for the Environment
NCSE has a continuing strategic effort to work in the area of public policy with two overarching goals:
- To provide accurate, understandable, comprehensive and integrated science-based information on environmental issues, its meaning, and its limitations so that they understand the risks, uncertainties, and potential consequences of their actions or inactions.
- To educate key decision-makers about the programs and activities which they control or influence that contribute to improving the scientific basis for environmental decision-making, including publicly-supported environmental research and education activities.
NCSE's efforts have focused on two main activities in achieving these goals:
- Advancing federal programs and initiatives that improve the scientific basis for environmental decision-making
- Supporting a robust and well-funded portfolio of federal programs for environmental research and education