Program Overview

The Institute for Science & Policy, a project of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, received a $100,000 grant from the National Conference of State Legislatures State Science Policy Fellowship Planning Grant Initiative, supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Starting in November 2023, the award will support a year of planning and development for a Colorado Science Policy Fellowship program to support the state legislature. The fellowship will be designed to provide legislators with direct access to scientists. Simultaneously, the program will build the capacity of scientists and engineers, empowering them to actively participate in policy discussions and public service. With this bi-directional approach, the Institute for Science & Policy aims to help the development of resilient, evidence-based policies while also creating robust engagement opportunities for scientists.

Colorado faces a myriad of complex scientific and technological challenges, including water resources, air quality, an energy transition, advanced technology, and public health needs. Yet access to reliable scientific and technical expertise demands dedicated resources that are not always readily available to a hybrid legislature. By creating a Science Policy Fellows program in Colorado, we can bridge this gap and ensure that scientific information is timely and accessible. Science Policy Fellows will establish themselves as trusted, nonpartisan sources of scientific knowledge, instilling confidence among decision-makers on the effectiveness of the program. This fellowship will prove invaluable for Colorado, ensuring the state remains at the forefront of addressing its scientific and technological needs with informed and trustworthy guidance.

The planning process will involve participation from legislators, legislative staff, and key partners and stakeholders from across the state. Collaboratively, we will identify the structure, network, and sustainable funding needed to design and support a program for the Colorado legislature, and potentially the executive branch.

About The National Conference of State Legislatures  

NCSL represents the legislatures in the states, territories, and commonwealths of the U.S. Its mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence, and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures. Learn more at  

Press Release

Project Timeline

STPF Timeline by ISP

Further Reading


In Science We Trust: Denver Museum Gets $100K Grant to Connect Scientists to Legislators. Read an interview with Institute director Kristan Uhlenbrock on the goals for the grant.

Scientists in the Statehouse: NCSL Awards Science Policy Fellowship Grants. An overview of the fellowship process and the five states that received grants to bring science, technology and engineering expertise into the policymaking process.



Developing Science and Technology Policy Fellowships in State Governments without Full-Time Legislatures. A white paper that gives an overview of the benefits of science fellowships in state governments with successful case studies from the Journal of Science Policy & Governance.

Integrating Evidence and Data in the Policymaking Process through Science Policy Fellowships. An overview of science policy fellowship models.

NCSL Center for Results-Driven Governing. Resources and tools for helping states use data and evidence to inform policy and budget decisions.

Thank You to our Advisory Committee

Curtis Esquibel, Sr. Director of Communications & Community Engagement, Boettcher Foundation

Dan Powers, Executive Director, CO-Labs 

George Sparks, President & CEO, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Hallie Thompson, Consultant, Radicle Consulting / Interim Executive Director, MOST Policy Initiative

Jocelyn Hittle, Associate Vice Chancellor, Colorado State University

Jon Samet, Former Dean, Colorado School of Public Health 

Kate Stoll, Project Director, AAAS Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues

Lisbet Finseth, Advocacy Manager, National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Mark Silberg, Special Advisor, Climate and Energy, Colorado Governor’s Office of Policy and Research

Matthew Druckenmiller, Research Scientist III, Colorado Local Science Engagement Network, CU-Boulder

Max Boykoff, Department Chair, Colorado Local Science Engagement Network, CU-Boulder 

Senator Chris Hansen, Senate District 31, Colorado State Senate

Senator Cleave Simpson, Senate District 6, Colorado State Senate

Steve Pearson, Owner & Founder, The Pearson Group, LLC

Sundari Kraft, Principal, Ascent Strategies, LLC

Tom Gougeon, President, Gates Family Foundation 

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