The Cooperative Institute of Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is partnering with the American Association for the Advancement of Science to develop and grow an informed, involved, and impactful Colorado Local Science Engagement Network (CO-LSEN). 

The objectives of CO-LSEN are twofold: 

  1. Bring relevant and timely science to bear on policy decisions at the local and state levels so that policies are better suited to address challenges related to climate change, sustainability, technology adoption, and natural resource management in Colorado; and
  2. Build and foster a new contingent of scientists in Colorado who are strongly engaged in identifying opportunities and relationships for bringing science into the policy realm. 

As a crosscutting theme, this program prioritizes diverse representation (i.e., across geographies, disciplines, livelihoods, genders, ethnicities, etc.) from the science, policy, and stakeholder communities. This program is a test-bed for local science engagement and advocacy, and accordingly coordinates and shares information, experiences, and insights with AAAS to inform their ongoing formulation of a nationwide strategy for supporting policy-engaged scientist networks at the state level. This program builds from and capitalizes on Colorado’s wealth of scientific capacity (17 universities and 38 federal research labs and joint institutes) as well as draw from various early-career science policy initiatives such as the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy (FOSEP). Given the program’s general focus on informing climate solutions, we collaborate with the existing ‘Inside the Greenhouse’ (ITG) project at CU Boulder. ITG focuses on creative framing and storytelling through video, theatre, dance, and writing to connect a wider audience to the deep and pressing need to address climate change.