Science in Policymaking: Trends, Tensions & Themes

About the program

Science doesn’t tell us what we should do, give us a clear-cut path forward or a single answer. Instead, science tells us what “is” or “may be.” From there, policymakers must decide how to use science—in combination with values, goals, and other factors—to make decisions. Though Minnesota has a long history of making policy rooted in scientific knowledge, many see a shift in how government weighs and uses science today, in conjunction with other sources of information.

This forum will examine the changing nature of how science is used to inform policy decisions. Through relevant, cross-sector examples and case studies, attendees will identify and discuss ways to stay true to Minnesota’s commitment to science-based policymaking.

This forum will explore the following questions:

  • What are recent trends in how science is used to inform environmental policy?
  • How is the policymaking process in Minnesota designed to incorporate scientific research?
  • What lessons have we learned from recent policy-making processes about effectively communicating and incorporating scientific research/knowledge into policymaking?

Event Materials

Case Study Handouts


  • Nancy Gibson, Co-Vice Chair, Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources
  • Barb Jacobs, Project Manager, Energy Transition Lab, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
  • Emily Javens, District Administrator and Engineer, Yellow Medicine River Watershed District
  • James Kelly, Manager, Environmental Surveillance and Assessment Section, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Dan Lipschultz, Vice-Chair, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
  • Don Pereira, Chief of Fisheries, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Dr. Carissa Slotterback, Associate Dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • Matt Wohlman, Deputy Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Agriculture



Like this event?

Get information on more events like this by signing up for our mailing lists.


Sign up