2022 Survey of Federal Scientists

Published Sep 7, 2022

Starting in September 2022, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will distribute an online survey to roughly 50,000 federal scientists across seven agencies. The purpose of this survey is to assess the state of science in federal agencies, and the extent to which federal scientists are able to effectively carry out their missions to protect public health and the environment. We're hoping for our largest response ever.

All of us rely on the work of scientists at federal agencies. After all, these agencies actions often have a direct impact on how well the public is protected from threats such as climate change impacts, natural disasters, unsafe food and drugs, transmissible disease, and air pollution. That's why it is so important that agencies use unfettered, impartial science and data in their decisionmaking processes.

Surveying federal scientists to hear directly from them about their experiences is one of longest-running projects that UCS undertakes. The current survey is our tenth since 2004 and all of them have provided a wealth of data and information to the agencies themselves, to the public, the media and to Congress. The survey results have led to increased awareness of and transparency about how science-based agencies operate and how agencies can improve their practices to better support federal scientists and protect the public.

To ensure the highest-caliber practices, UCS is conducting this year's survey in partnership with the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center. We are implementing strict data protections and anonymization procedures because we feel strongly that survey participants should feel secure in the knowledge that their data is being protected as stringently as possible. See the resources below for more information, including an informational video about the survey, a page of frequently asked questions (FAQ), and a blog post about how the survey has been used in the past to strengthen scientific integrity in the federal government.

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