Center for Science and Democracy

The Center for Science
and Democracy

Engaged scientists + an informed public = a stronger democracy.

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What's at Stake

With science under attack from the Trump administration and Congress, the Center for Science and Democracy is fighting back, standing up for science, and helping scientists and communities work together to find solutions to our common problems.

The United States faces enormous, daunting challenges, from battling the threat of climate change to modernizing our energy, transportation and food systems.

And now, our democracy itself appears increasingly fragile, as divisions in our social fabric seem to grow wider and deeper by the day. Our broken political system struggles to find solutions to urgent problems, while a fragmented, polarized media landscape makes it hard for the public to separate truth from lies or hold leaders accountable.

Meanwhile, African Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, and other marginalized communities continue to face more than their fair share of risks and impacts from problems such as climate change and pollution.

The partnership between science and democracy can help get us out of this mess. The United States was founded on the conviction that an informed public, armed with evidence and reason, can make wise decisions that serve the common good. Throughout our history, science has helped our nation deliver on that promise.

The Center for Science and Democracy is standing up for science: raising our voice against anti-science initiatives from the Trump administration and Congress, helping strengthen science-based health, safety, and environmental laws, exposing and challenging misinformation, working to ensure scientific integrity, and helping scientists who are targets of personal attacks.

The Center is empowering communities and scientists: highlighting the role of science in solving critical problems, breaking down barriers between scientific knowledge and the public, helping to make science a tool for racial equity and justice, and helping scientists and communities collaborate to solve problems through the UCS Science Network.  

In all these ways, the Center is working to strengthen the partnership between science and democracy. And there’s a lot that you can do, too.

Steering Committee

The Center for Science and Democracy Steering Committee is a group of distinguished experts on science and public policy with a broad range of interests and achievements who provide strategic guidance to the Center's work. Learn more >

Defending Science

For over a decade, UCS has been working to promote scientific integrity in government, to protect targeted scientists, to strengthen science-based public protections, and to push back against misinformation.

The Trump Administration

Even before Donald Trump's inauguration, his Cabinet picks signaled that his administration will be no friend to science. The Center for Science and Democracy is closely monitoring the Trump administration and the 115th Congress—and we'll be mobilizing Americans to stand up for science whenever it's undermined or disregarded. 

Learn more about defending science during the Trump administration >

Promoting Scientific Integrity

Scientists working for the U.S. government have made remarkable contributions to our nation. But when science is censored, distorted or manipulated to serve private interests, we all lose. UCS has been working since 2004 to expose these abuses and strengthen the integrity of the federal scientific enterprise, so that scientists are empowered to conduct unbiased research, communicate their findings to the public, and report on fraud and abuse. We've made significant strides, but more needs to be done to solidify these gains.

Learn more about promoting scientific integrity >

Preserving Science-Based Safeguards

The Clean Air Act. The Clean Water Act. The Endangered Species Act. Firmly grounded in scientific evidence, these protections, and others like them, have made the United States a better place to live. But recent years have brought repeated efforts to weaken or eliminate these safeguards in Congress. We're working to keep them strong.

Learn more about preserving science-based safeguards >

Protecting Scientists from Harassment

It's an old and time-dishonored trick: when you can't refute the message, target the messenger. Scientists whose findings are unwelcome to political or commercial interests face harassment and threats—and they may even find themselves having to defend their work and their privacy in court. Independent science benefits us all, and we all stand to lose when it is attacked. The Center is providing advice and support to targeted scientists.

Learn more about protecting scientists from harassment >

Fighting Misinformation

It can be hard to hear the voice of science over the cacophony of misinformation we are subjected to by vested interests whose bottom lines depend on misleading the public. At the same time, lobbying operations and political contributions buy corporations and trade groups outsized influence in Congress. Together, the fractured information landscape and the influence of money in politics jeopardize our health and safety. The Center is fighting back: exposing misinformation and demanding transparency about the role of money in government.  

Learn more about fighting misinformation >

Empowering Scientists and Communities

Bringing Science to Critical Issues

The Center is not just talking about science and democracy—we're doing something about it. Through research and analysis, blogging, and working with scientists and citizens on the ground, we're helping shape evidence-based solutions on issues like fracking, access to healthy food, chemical safety and more.

Learn more about bringing science to critical issues >

Connecting Scientists and Communities

The Center is helping scientists who want to make a difference connect with communities that need their expertise to fill information gaps. By drawing on the nearly 17,000 involved experts in the UCS Science Network, by developing resources and toolkits for the public, and by convening diverse stakeholders through our Branscomb Forums, we help bring the science/democracy partnership to life.

Learn more about connecting scientists and communities >

Promoting Public Access to Science

Knowledge is power, and when citizens and communities are denied access to scientific knowledge, they are effectively disempowered. For this reason, transparency, access to information, and the public's right to know are pivotal issues for science and democracy. The Center is working to ensure that the information needed to make good decisions about critical issues is available to all, and that science is used to address racial inequities that pervade our society.

Learn more about promoting public access to science >

The Branscomb Forums

Named for distinguished scientist, public servant and philanthropist Lewis M. Branscomb, the Branscomb Science and Democracy Forums bring together experts, policymakers, journalists, and concerned citizens to focus on a specific issue through a science and democracy lens. Forums so far have addressed issues such as fracking, food policy, and our response to natural disasters.

Learn more about the Branscomb Forums >

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