Science and Technology Innovation Program
Games are a great way to explore policy options because they allow the player to see both intended and unintended consequences of decisions, said Diane Tucker who directs the Center’s Serious Games Initiative. Tucker described important updates coming this fall with the Election Edition of the serious game Budget Hero.
A 2010 analysis by the Synthetic Biology Project found that the U.S. government spent around $430 million on research related to synthetic biology since 2005, with the Department of Energy funding a majority of the research. By comparison, the analysis indicated that the European Union and three individual European countries – the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany – had spent approximately $160 million during that same period. Approximately 4 percent of the U.S. funding and 2 percent of the European funding was being spent to explore ethical, legal, and social implications of synthetic biology, but no projects focused on risk assessment.
Published by the Commons Lab, "New Visions in Citizen Science" showcases seventeen case studies that offer a mosaic view of federally-sponsored citizen science and open innovation projects, from in-the-field data collection to online games for collective problem-solving. This report offers a sampling of different models that support public contribution, potential challenges, and positive impacts that projects can have on scientific literacy, research, management, and public policy.
In partnership with the Pew CharitableTrusts, the Wilson Center will work with industry, academia, NGOs, and others to explore the future of nanotechnologies and their implications for the environment and human health.
From laptop computers to sunscreens to stain-resistant clothing, nanotechnology is gaining ground in the consumer products marketplace. The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies launches the only publicly available, online, and searchable inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products.
As today’s policy challenges become more complex, it has become clear that American media — online news, television, radio, newspapers, and magazines— are not up to the task of explaining the problems underlying them or providing citizens with all the information they need to engage in public conversations about them. Democracy cannot function properly without those conversations. But one new medium - videogames — may well fill the gap.
"Nanoscale science and engineering promise to be as important as the steam engine, the transistor, and the Internet, and have the potential to revolutionize all other technologies" according to Neal Lane, former science advisor to U.S. President Bill Clinton. "But that outcome is not guaranteed."