The most significant and pressing environmental problems transcend national borders. Threats such as climate change, resource scarcity, and air pollution are global and inherently complex—as such they necessitate global responses that are informed by the best available scientific knowledge. The mission of NCSE is not limited to a national context. NCSE is developing a new portfolio of work with the ambition of advancing the use of science to inform environmental decision-making internationally.
NCSE’s international initiatives advance the following objectives:
- Broaden the spectrum of scientific knowledge available and relevant to international policymaking, including making the knowledge and expertise of the NCSE members accessible to international decision-makers, leaders and influencers;
Grow and support an academic culture that promotes and incentivizes proactive engagement with policy- and decision-makers at all levels of government and across sectors; and
Nurture awareness and value by decision-makers for the use of science in environmental governance.
NCSE’s current international partners include Inserm (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale), the Embassy of France in the United States, and UN Environment.
Global Partnership with Long Island University
The National Council for Science and the Environment has entered into a global partnership with Long Island University (LIU) to advance the shared priority of work on science policy internationally. LIU and NCSE have established several initiatives as part of the collaboration:
- Román Macaya Hayes Global Science Diplomacy Fellowship honors Román Macaya Hayes, a scientist and former Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States widely known for his work to advance global science diplomacy.
- Certificate in Science Diplomacy provides students with the opportunity to work alongside a network of global experts and international scientists.
- International Science Alliance on Environmental Health explores opportunities to increase engagement and collaboration between the scientific community and policy-makers to improve the scientific basis of environmental decision-making at all levels of government with a focus on environmental health.
French-American Research Partnership on Plastic Pollution: Responding to the Plastic Challenge Through Science
Together with the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the GDR (Groupement de Recherche) Polymers and Oceans of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), NCSE is working to launch a French-American Research Partnership on Plastic Pollution (Partnership). The Partnership responds to the increasing political and public awareness of the negative environmental and health impacts of micro- and nanoplastics, which are omnipresent in our environment.
Due to their physical and chemical characteristics, microplastics—tiny particles under 5 mm in length—and nanoplastics—plastic fragments in the <100 nm size range—constitute a particular challenge as they are present across air, soil and sediment, freshwaters, seas and oceans, plants and animals, and in the global food system thereby also affecting human health. While the scientific knowledge on these pervasive contaminants is increasing, important uncertainties prevail. There is a compelling need for sharing research results across national borders and pursuing joint scientific investigations that can shape national strategies to curb plastic pollution.
The Partnership aims to identify and fill remaining knowledge gaps, and to produce actionable scientific knowledge to provide decision-makers with information that can inform, and potentially mitigate, the challenges of micro- and nanoplastics. The Partnership will mobilize the deep expertise of the NCSE community and the CNRS/GDR Polymers and Oceans network of 45 French laboratories. In addition, the Partnership will engage other research institutions government agencies, industry, and other key stakeholders.