Ogmius Newsletter

Ogmius 10TH
Anniversary issue

Founding Director Roger Pielke, Jr.

Roger Pielke, Jr.Here at the University of Colorado Boulder, it is exciting to be able to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the CIRES Center for Science and Technology Policy Research in conjunction with the 45th anniversary of our parent organization, CIRES. Here are a few reflections looking back at the past 10 years, and to the future of our Center.

Back in 2001 I decided to leave the National Center for Atmospheric Research for a faculty position at the University of Colorado. I was fortunate – and hindsight shows just how fortunate – to have convinced Bobbie Klein to make the journey across town with me.

With the support and encouragement of Susan Avery, then CIRES director, we were shown 1333 Grandview as a possible home for our offices. The building at the time had been unoccupied for a while, and suffered from neglect and wear. But we saw a lot of potential and told Susan we’d take it. Consistently from the start, the support of CIRES for creating a vibrant research center focused on science and technology policy research has been the backbone of everything that we have done since those first days.

Early in the fall semester of 2001, we then made perhaps our best decision in the hiring of Ami Nacu-Schmidt. I say we, though as is typically the case, it would be far better to say that Bobbie decided and I trusted her good judgment. There can be no doubt that the heart of the Center – the two people who have made it what it is today – are Bobbie and Ami. But I am getting ahead of the story. We then got to work.
By the fall of 2002 we had successfully met the criteria of establishing a new research center on campus, and set forth doing all of those things needed to institutionalize a presence on campus. A wonderful website followed, then a Graduate Certificate Program, a very big NSF grant, a parade of presidential science advisors, courses, students, visitors and a growing staff.

For me, however, the true test of institutional success in a university setting is a successful leadership transition. So when my term was up as Center director, I literally packed up and left town, making my way to Oxford for a sabbatical. The transition to a new director was not without its uncertainties, but in the end the Center was fortunate to have Professor William Travis take over the leadership of the Center.

Bill has had a wonderful successful term as director, having overseen a dramatic expansion of the Center – which on the eve of its 10th anniversary now totals 6

Dr. John Marburger III being interviewed by Roger Pielke, Jr., February 14, 2005


Dr. John Marburger III being interviewed by Roger Pielke, Jr., February 14, 2005

tenure-track faculty members. Ben Hale, Lisa Dilling, Max Boykoff and Deserai Crow are now members of the Center, representing an all-star line-up of scholars. Each has made an individual mark on the University and beyond, ensuring that the Center’s best years still lie ahead.

Thanks to Bill's skilled leadership the Center is extremely well positioned for whatever comes next. Our Center and its programs have been emulated at other universities and our record of scholarly achievement quite literally speaks for itself. I am also very proud of our collective achievements in education and especially outreach, where a student project call the “Prometheus blog” (what is a “blog” I asked skeptically at the time?) turned into one of the most widely accessed websites on all of campus and a major outlet for national and international science policy discussions.

With all of these successes, I am most proud of the students who we have had the privilege of working with. They come from across various departments on campus, many from Environmental Studies, and are seeking various degrees. Our alums today are in the private sector, government (local, state, federal), civil society and academia, and make up a rich network of talent and expertise. (Side note: Alums, do remember that the naming rights for our Center endowment remains open!) Seeing their successes and now working with many of them as peers has perhaps been for me the most rewarding aspect of our first 10 years.

An anniversary provides a wonderful excuse to look back and look ahead. For the CIRES Center for Science and Technology Policy Research the view looks bright in both directions.

Congrats to all, and here is to the next 10 years!

Roger Pielke, Jr., Director 2001-2007
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research
Professor, Environmental Studies Program
University of Colorado Boulder