The Science Policy Group at UCSFseeks to empower and educate people to advance and advocate (science) policy within and beyond our community. Our focuses include:
gender equity — criminal legal system — funding for biomedical research — advocacy training — drug policy & decriminalization — science education — vaccine equity — COVID-19 policy — voter education — housing policy  —
Join us today
Coming Soon:
Vaccine Equity Series
"Could you patent the sun?" is a three-part speaker series that will consider the global rollout of mRNA vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic and the gross disparities in access to vaccine technology and other therapeutics that resulted between Global North and South. These cross-disciplinary conversations will explore the logistics of vaccine research, production, and distribution with attention to how legacies of global imperialism and intellectual property law have shaped who ultimately has access to lifesaving technologies.

When Jonas Salk developed one of the first polio vaccines, he affirmed it as public domain.  When asked who owned the patent to the vaccine, he replied “Well the people I would say.  There is no patent.  Could you patent the sun?”.  We invoke Salk’s rhetorical question to create an opening to reconsider our current trajectory.  What are next steps forward and what could a more internationalist and collaborative practice of science look like?
Could you patent the sun?
Image of UC Berkeley Campanile with magnolia flowers in the forefront. Header that states "Science Policy Group at UC Berkeley and UCSF present...Science Ethics and Policy Symposium, From Plants to Privacy: Science Ethics for the Modern Era. In-person at UC Berkeley and Virtual. Join us! April 8-9." SEPS 2022 logo in bottom left corner.
Part 1: Achal Prabhala
Thursday Sep 29 @ 6:30 pm
(Bakar Auditorium, HD160, Mission Bay)
RSVP for Part 1

Achal Prabhala will provide a briefing on the current state of mRNA vaccine access across the globe and then step back to offer a timeline-style overview of vaccine rollout, policy, and ongoing efforts to push for more equitable distribution of vaccines and therapeutics.
Part 2: Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD
Monday Oct 3 @ 12:00 pm
(Bakar Auditorium, HD160, Mission Bay)
RSVP for Part 2

Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi will offer insight into the process of developing Corbevax, a patent-free, low-cost Covid vaccine, conceived of to ensure equitable access in the Global South.
Part 3: Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
Wednesday Oct 5 @ 5:00 pm
(Nursing Building 217, Parnassus)
RSVP for Part 3

Dr. Monica Gandhi will explore how global disparities we witnessed in the access to HIV prophylactics and therapeutics should inform our approach to vaccine distribution in the era of Covid-19 and MPX.
Who are we?
SPG at UCSF serves as a platform for discussing science policy issues, providing resources & training for science policy education, and initiating advocacy within and beyond UCSF.

Our events and projects are entirely shaped by the interests of our incredible leadership members!

Example topics include: 
    -Research funding
    -Vaccine equity
    -Criminal legal system policy
    -Drug policy/harm reduction
    -Gender equity

Explore our leadership
What do we do?
SPG at UCSF hosts a wide variety of events every year.
View our events
Professional Development
Our professional development events help prepare our members to engage with policy as scientists, whether as a potential career or as a supplementary interest.
Skill building
We have held workshops on communication and advocacy skills, including effective use of social media and persuasive writing for elected officials and the public.
Policy career exploration
We have invited speakers to discuss their careers in science policy fields and help our members follow in their footsteps.
Beyond hosting events at UCSF, we advocate for issues we care about directly to people in power.
Advocacy training
We have hosted a variety of workshops to prepare members with no prior experience to visit the State Capitol and advocate for an issue of their choice, including an Advocacy 101 workshop, a Civic Engagement workshop series, and a policy Memo Writing workshop.
Advocacy opportunities
In addition to phone banking campaigns, we have organized advocacy visits to the CA State Capitol in Sacramento and have participated in the March For Science (D.C.) and CASE workshops.
Community Engagement
Many of our best and biggest events aim to engage the public beyond UCSF itself.
Mutual aid
Our biggest mutual aid action was a year-long Clean Hands project, where we distributed 2,200+ gallons of hand sanitizer in over 62,000 bottles to CA jails/prisons, the Navajo Nation and other underserved COVID-vulnerable communities.
Engaging with the democratic process
We have moderated the 2019 Last District Attorney debate, provided information about voting and voter registration, and hosted ballot measure pros & cons sessions.
Community education
We have provided many opportunities for the public to learn more about science and science policy, including a public screening of the documentary "Human Nature" and a series of panels about controversial “Hard Questions” like defunding the police and SF’s housing crisis.