SIPS Newsletter: First Quarter 2017

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

15 March 2017: AGU Honors Program Nominations Deadlines
The deadline for nominations for Union awards, medals, and prizes is almost here. Of particular interest to SIPS affiliates is the Ambassador Award in recognition for outstanding contributions to the following area(s): societal impact, service to the Earth and space community, scientific leadership, and promotion of talent/career pool. Please consider nominating a deserving person for the Ambassador Award or another Union award. More information is available on AGU’s Honors Program page.

15 April 2017 Section & Focus Group Awards Nominations Deadlines
There is no specific award for SIPS, but do consider nominating a deserving person for one of these awards. More information is available on AGU’s Honors Program page.

19 April 2017: Fall Meeting Session Proposals Now Being Accepted
The AGU Fall Meeting will be in New Orleans from 11 to 15 December 2017. AGU is now accepting session proposals until 19 April 2017. Please consider submitting a session proposal about the intersection of science and society to Public Affairs or consider a proposal to another section or focus group where a policy-relevant submission would be appropriate. More information is available from the AGU session proposal page.

AGU Supports March for Science Event
AGU’s Executive Committee formally endorsed the March for Science event in Washington, D.C., on 22 April 2017 and related satellite events. Please read about the endorsement in the From the Prow message on 23 February 2017.



State of SIPS and New Leadership
The Societal Impacts and Policy Sciences Focus Group continues to grow and increase its participation in the broader impacts of the geosciences and working at the intersection of science and policy. We have a mission statement and much more content on our webpage, which we invite you to visit. We have a great group of liaisons to other AGU sections and focus groups, and we are looking for more volunteers. We sent out a survey in 2014 to SIPS affiliates, and the results show that there is great interest in helping AGU members with communications to policy makers.

The new leadership for SIPS began their terms on 1 January 2017. The leadership includes Linda Rowan, President; Maggie Walser, President-elect; Rebecca French, Secretary; and Tim Cohn, Past President. We look forward to working with SIPS affiliates, AGU members, AGU programs, and other stakeholders to carry out our mission and work on the priorities from the survey and other input.

SIPS Liaisons
SIPS is recruiting liaisons to other sections and focus groups (S/FG). A listing of the current liaisons is available on the liaison webpage, and we invite more volunteers to become liaisons, especially for S/FG that are not represented yet. There is a quick and easy link on the website to volunteer. The roles of the liaisons are as follows:

  • Discuss SIPS with the current leadership of your S/FG
  • Request that information about SIPS be included in appropriate S/FG newsletters
  • Promote Fall Meeting SIPS-relevant sessions, events, and talks to your S/FG
  • Cochair sessions and include SIPS-relevant talks or posters in those sessions
  • Promote SIPS at S/FG events at Fall Meeting.
  • Share any relevant information from your S/FG with SIPS
  • Recruit additional SIPS affiliates from your S/FG

Communicating with Policy Makers
The SIPS 2014 survey responses requested more tools to help scientists communicate with policy makers. AGU Public Affairs has many tools available, such as the Policy Action Center, where you can contact a policy maker on a specific action, and tool kits, which provide resources on effective ways to communicate. AGU with other science organizations will host Congressional Visits Days in Washington, D.C., in the spring and fall. This is a chance to visit with congressional legislators and staff with other scientists and engineers.


Notable Member Accomplishments

Outstanding Student Paper Awards for AGU 2016 Fall Meeting
Outstanding Student Paper Awards (OSPA) are given to promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. students for quality research. Each year, SIPS recruits judges to assess and score presentations in the Public Affairs section of the AGU Fall Meeting. The following students were recognized for their high-quality presentations at the 2016 Fall Meeting:

Marshaun Montgomery, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “A Framework for Using Rural Markets to Analyze Local Food Shortage Resilience and Mitigation Potential in Sub-Saharan Africa Based on Evidence from Zambia”

Amanda Sorensen, Rutgers University: “A Case Study of Framing and Project Design Impacts on Participant Identity, Views and Trust of Science in a Phenology Public Participatory Program”

Special thanks goes to OSPA coordinator Denise Hills for organizing the OSPA judges and to all of the judges who devoted their time and energy to reviewing Public Affairs presentations. Please contact if you would like to be an OSPA coordinator or judge.


Consider Contributions to AGU’s Science Policy Blog, The Bridge
Consider submitting an article to AGU’s science policy blog, The Bridge. Submissions are welcome at any time and are a great way to be involved in science policy communications.

AGU Donor Incentive Program
AGU is piloting a donor incentive program that would provide additional, unrestricted funding to the SIPS Focus Group if 5% of our focus group primary members contribute $50 or more to any AGU program, including general support. The funding amounts rise as the percentages increase as follows:

5% participation = $1000 contribution from AGU to SIPS

7% participation = $2000 contribution from AGU to SIPS

10% participation = $3000 contribution from AGU to SIPS

12% participation = $4000 contribution from AGU to SIPS

>15% participation = $5000 contribution from AGU to SIPS

In the past, SIPS has leveraged donations for the SIPS reception and for student travel grants to the AGU Fall Meeting. Additional donations could be used to enhance the reception and support more students. Please let us know if you have other ideas for donations.