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Policy Statement 550 - Role of Science and Engineering Research in Government


Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 15, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board on Direction on July 13, 2018


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) believes that science plays a critical role in the development of federal, state, and local policies.

ASCE believes that scientists and engineers employed or funded by government organizations must be free to conduct their research unencumbered. ASCE further believes that scientists and engineers employed or funded by government organizations must be permitted to communicate their unclassified findings and assessments not only to each other but also to policymakers and to the public in an unfettered and timely manner.


The federal research enterprise has been tremendously successful over the decades because, unlike in many other countries, it has largely remained insulated from political pressures and interference. It is among the roles of government and government funded scientists and engineers to provide the factual basis for the decisions made by government policy makers and the public. Without the use of objective facts, decision makers cannot be assured of making decisions which reflect the most currently accepted scientific knowledge and may make decisions which will ultimately harm the public health, safety, welfare.


The civil engineering profession relies on scientific and engineering advances funded by the federal government, among others, to develop objective facts leading to new products and processes to better protect the public health, safety, and welfare of our society. Additionally, other professions rely on the steady advancement in science and engineering to provide for our national prosperity and a better quality of life, as well as present and future sustainability through improvements in a range of fields including medicine, energy, computing, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, aeronautics, technology, and many others.

ASCE Policy Statement 550
First Approved 2017