Today’s policy, tomorrow’s reality

Today’s policy, tomorrow’s reality

The Day One Project is accelerating U.S. science and technology policy

If you don’t work for the government or an advocacy organization, you may think public policy doesn’t have anything to do with your work. But solutions to important problems require collaboration between the public sector, private sector, and philanthropy — and policymaking pushes that work forward. 

Last week, Luminary Labs CEO Sara Holoubek and Engagement Manager Elizabeth Bowling joined a broad coalition of scientists, technologists, and policy experts for the launch of the Day One Project. The new bipartisan initiative wants to develop actionable science and technology (S&T) policies for the next presidential term and congressional session. It all starts with an accelerator to “collect and refine the 100 best S&T ideas.”

We sometimes forget the role of government and policy in world-changing research and technologies. In the 18th century, Britain offered a significant prize purse for advancements in seafaring navigation, and Napoleon funded a competition that led to innovation in food preservation. In more recent decades, the U.S. government’s investment has spurred development of the internet, GPS, and autonomous vehicles

Many of the world’s most pressing problems can only be solved by catalytic partnerships; if there’s not a strong financial incentive for the private sector to innovate, the government can offer incentives that stimulate a market and bring new solutions to bear. Day One Project event attendees expressed interest in a broad range of issues — from antimicrobial resistance and climate change to 5G infrastructure and America’s STEM and manufacturing workforce. To address these issues, every sector will need to play a role.

The Day One Accelerator is an open call for new ideas and new voices. This is an invitation to contribute to the process — even if you’ve never considered yourself part of policymaking before. The accelerator will select a cohort to join a 45-day sprint; with help from veteran policy experts, they’ll develop these early ideas into policy proposals. At an event later this year, Day One will offer an opportunity to pitch those ideas to policymakers. The brief online submission form asks three simple questions: What’s the problem, why does it matter, and what’s your idea for taking action? Browse Day One’s initial batch of 15 ideas across a variety of topics — including energy, health, and technology — and submit your own idea by February 6.


Jessica Hibbard
Head of Content & Community