The mission of the Georgetown University Program on Science in the Public Interest (SPI) is to provide students with concrete opportunities to address some of the most challenging science and society problems of our time. At SPI, students develop creative and practical solutions through direct dialogue with congressional staff, Members of Congress, journalists, scientists, business leaders, educators and entrepreneurs.

SPI provides students with the tools and opportunities to affect change in three major focus areas: Government, Industry, and Community.


SPI students examine national environmental, energy, health and security issues, tackling today’s most important questions, including:

  • How can the nation achieve long-term energy security that is affordable and accessible to all citizens?
  • How can the nation best contribute to global environmental management while recognizing the technological needs and limitations of other nations?
  • What are the best steps to fostering vaccine discovery and safeguarding the public against emerging pandemics?

SPI student groups have had their ideas voted on by Congress, included in legislation, and signed into law.


SPI students work with leaders in industry to examine environmental sustainability as a corporate strategy. For example, in Fall ’08, a SPI student group has been given extensive access to General Electric, including the GE Senior Vice President, to evaluate the cost/benefit of the GE Ecomagination program.


SPI students impact the next generation by engaging with students and education leaders in the DC area. SPI students:

Developing lesson plans and teaching in DC area public schools.
Students have created and developed new activities at the Smithsonian’s Spark! Lab™, which is currently undergoing exciting new renovations. SPI will continue it’s work with Spark! Lab to teach basic scientific principles to DC area K-12 students, when the West wing exhibition wing is completed.

Through participation in community based learning, SPI students deepen their own scientific understanding by teaching core concepts to others.

SPI works with students and faculty in the PhysicsBiology, and Chemistry Departments as well as the Government Department, the Georgetown Center for Infectious Disease, the Georgetown Center for the Environment, the Georgetown Program on Science, Technology and International Affairs, and the McDonough School of Business.