What Is the California Council on Science and Technology?

Amber Mace, PhD, is the Deputy Director of the California Council on Science and Technology.
Amber Mace, PhD

You’ve been getting to know our CCST Science Fellows on our blog. With the release of our 2015 Annual Report this month, I invite you to learn a bit about our organization — the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).

CCST is a nonpartisan, impartial, not-for-profit organization established via an Assembly Concurrent Resolution in 1988. We are modeled after the National Academies — the official scholarly body serving the United States of America — to provide the State of California with a parallel network of institutional and individual advisors.

California was at a crossroads in the 1980s: competition from abroad was challenging California’s traditional leadership in areas such as aerospace and semiconductors. Economic, demographic, and environmental changes and issues which dominate our State today were just beginning to assume prominence.

Looking out for the present and future of the Golden State, a coalition of leaders from California’s State Capitol, universities, and research institutions began to discuss ways to assess and catalyze the role of science in California research, industry, and policy. Their discussion resulted in Assembly Concurrent Resolution 162, introduced by then-Assemblymember Sam Farr and actively supported by then-Assemblymember John Garamendi, and filed with the Secretary of State on September 15, 1988.

ACR 162 called for the establishment of “the California Council on Science and Technology”. This founding statement charged the new organization “to respond to the Governor, the Legislature, and other entities on public policy issues related to science and technology” and to create a council “comprised of distinguished scholars and experts, including scientists and engineers from California’s academic and industrial community” to advise them.

In other words, help us make California’s policies stronger with science!

Ever since, CCST has served State leaders in California, conducting analytical assessments at their request to help them make informed decisions on complex science and technology issues affecting Californians. To-date, our CCST Council has been asked to report on the State’s R&D competitiveness, transportation, intellectual property, STEM education, energy production, and water supply, among many other timely topics. In recent years, our reports on well stimulation technologies in California have made news headlines, offering much-needed, independent assessments to the public on the possibilities and precautions surrounding these energy production investments.

CCST itself has evolved as well, adding Federal research facilities such as Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryLawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National LaboratoriesSLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryNASA Ames Research Center, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to our circle of affiliates. We’ve also created new programs in response to State Capitol needs for increased engagement with trained technical experts. You know one of these pretty well: the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows program.

There is much more I can tell you about, so I invite you to read through our 2015 Annual Report, available to download online at our CCST website. See who’s on our CCST Board of Directors and our CCST Council, and our family of major donors and generous supporters. If you would like a printed copy of the Annual Report for your institution’s office, send us a note at info@ccst.us.

Thank you for your continued support of CCST, and I hope to see you around Downtown Sacramento or on my travels around California!

— Amber Mace


Amber Mace, PhD, is the Deputy Director of the California Council on Science and Technology and a Policy Fellow at the UC Davis Policy Institute. Mace formerly served as the Executive Director of California Ocean Protection Council and Assistant Secretary for Coastal Matters at the California Natural Resources Agency, after serving as a Sea Grant Policy Fellow with the United States Senate. Mace received her PhD in ecology from the University of California, Davis.

Follow updates from the CCST Science Fellows on Facebook at facebook.com/ccstfellows, on Twitter @CCSTFellows, and on LinkedIn. Learn more about the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at fellows.ccst.us.