Inaugural AGU Science Policy Conference Recap

14 May 2012
AGU Science Policy Alert 12-23

On 1 – 2 May 2012, AGU hosted its inaugural Science Policy Conference in Washington, DC, focusing on the important role of science in supporting our economy, public safety, and national security.  Striving to bridge the science and policy fields, AGU plans to host this conference every year and focus on the applications of Earth and space science to serve our local and national communities. This year’s conference brought together over 300 leading scientists, policymakers, industry professionals, press, and other stakeholders to discuss natural hazards, natural resources, oceans, and Arctic science as it relates to challenges facing our society. Sessionssuch as Hydraulic Fracturing, Mitigation and Resiliency to Severe Weather, Governance and Security in the Arctic, Ocean Acidification, and Agriculture and Food Security are examples of some of the challenging science policy issues addressed at the conference. In addition to the 21 oral sessions, 79 posters were presented during the two days of the conference. The majority are available as ePosters which allow for continued discussion over the next two months.

As well as two days conference sessions, AGU hosted events on Monday 30 April including a communications workshop in partnership with the National Geographic Society, and a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill. More than 70 scientists participated in the communications workshop, which provided them with the tools they need to become effective communicators in the media and policy environments. Also hosted on Monday was a congressional briefing where a panel of experts discussed water quality issues from the Mississippi and its tributaries to the Gulf of Mexico, and the issues we face two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Recognizing leaders whose work has advanced understanding and appreciation of the value of Earth and space science to benefit society was expressed through AGU’s first-ever Presidential Citations for Science and Society. The esteemed recipients included Google Earth, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA, and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). The awards were presented at a reception held Tuesday 1 May on Capitol Hill.

As a follow up to the conference AGU will make the plenary talks as well as some select sessions available online as Videos-on-Demand. To capture the import topics discussed, a conference report will also be released. Please check back on the website for this exciting information.

AGU sends a special thanks to all the conference speakers and participants who made this inaugural event a huge success, as well as our conference sponsors and partners.


  • Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp
  • Entergy Corporation
  • Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
  • Munich Re


  • American Meteorological Society
  • Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.
  • The National Geographic Society