SPEAKS – Science to Policy Education: Activating Knowledge for Sustainable Transportation


Dr. Matthew Barth
SPEAKS Principal Investigator

Melissa Jaunal
SPEAKS Program Coordinator

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. DGE-2152258. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



The SPEAKS Traineeship Program


As society looks to tackle climate change, researchers must not only come up with good solutions, but also engage with the public and policymakers to develop and implement those solutions to benefit society.

Supported by a major grant awarded to UCR from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the SPEAKS Program takes a holistic view to science and engineering graduate education, where we also emphasize policy, human-technology interaction, and social and environmental justice. This multi-disciplinary NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) trains STEM-focused doctoral students to integrate engineering, social science, environmental science, and public policy to conduct research focused on decarbonization of the transportation sector.

Using a novel science-to-policy (S2P) program, SPEAKS trains students in user- and stakeholder-based research, communication, integrated ethics, empowering diversity, equity, and inclusion, and career readiness. Training includes coursework, collaborative research, networking, mentoring, professional development, and student internships in legislative offices, industry, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. This project convenes expert practitioners from engineering, public policy, sciences, and humanities to provide Ph.D. students with skills and experience necessary to address key scientific challenges to transportation decarbonization and to implement their findings in public policy.

View the full NSF Award Abstract


Trainee Learning Goals


Through a multi-disciplinary educational approach, SPEAKS Trainees will learn to:

  1) Translate Science into Policy by improving understanding of the policymaking process
  2) Communicate technical information to both experts and non-experts
  3) Frame research to be needs- and stakeholder-based
  4) Empower diversity, equity, and inclusion in sustainable transportation education
  5) Implement societally beneficial, translational research


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