The Duke Initiative for Science & Society examines broad-ranging questions about the integral role of science in social institutions and culture. To serve that purpose, the Duke SciPol website positions information in a way that educates users on science policy and also provides options for them to get involved with the issues. The website sits at the crossroads of science and society by covering policy that touches on five distinct scientific topics including energy, genetics/genomics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, and robotics/AI. The New Target team was chosen to transform the formerly static website into a modern digital experience that is comprehensive, yet easy to use. 

The new SciPol website was announced at a recent World Economic Forum event in China.  Click this link and scroll to minute 12:27 to learn about the website first hand from Duke SciPol’s leadership. 

Built in Drupal, the science-inspired app-like design is so simple, the main goals of the site are highlighted in just three sections—Track, Learn, and Jobs. The design utilizes policy as the central hub and disseminates information out to various areas from there. Keeping a focus on education, the website fully integrates a variety of content aimed at making science approachable by using an explainer tool to help with topics and policies. The Learn section highlights resources that show people of all knowledge levels what they can do to affect policy. To enhance the Learn section, full use is made of motion to help guide users through available actions using the Wayfinder policy tool.

The cornerstone of the site is an integration with GovInfo that powers a complex policy tracker which provides a glimpse into the current state of science policy in America. The tracker is enhanced with original, well-researched policy briefs allowing users to dive deep into specific policies. In addition to providing information, the tracker promotes public engagement with specific policies. The website uses intro.js to guide users through the features and functionality of the newly designed and built tool. 

Beyond the policy tracker, the website gives users opportunities to engage with science policy at all levels. Looking to find a career in science policy? There’s a job board for you. Want to learn how to engage with Congress on a new piece of legislation? There’s information for you. Interested in seeing the latest and most relevant headlines about a specific policy? There’s news for you, too. All of which is facilitated through various integrations with, among others, Twitter, a job board, Engage calendar/RSS feed, and a Triangle-specific newsletter.

The website provides benefits in the form of flexibility for the staff as well. Admins can control card width and other page elements that conform to a standard grid system. They can also control flexibility of interactive elements including colors and iconography as well as the order of things like the Wayfinder maps. 

The whole digital experience embodies the Duke Initiative for Science & Society’s mission to maximize social benefit from scientific progress by making science [policy] more accessible. 

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