Thank you, Gavriel! These are great points, here is some additional detail:
-What results have you seen from the previous cybersecurity/AI workshops, aside from continued participation—have you seen signs that staffers are bringing what they’ve learned to their offices and impacting policy?
Aside from word-of-mouth interest (and a waiting list) for subsequent cybersecurity policy workshops, we did get attendees reaching out for advice to speakers from the workshop they'd attended, and workshop speakers were subsequently invited to DC to brief members and staff of House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee, and to advise the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource task force. We also had then-Senator McCain, Congressman Ro Hanna, and members of the Congressional AI caucus arrange visits to Stanford (and specifically to FSI / Hoover, which hosted the workshops) to discuss cyber policy and AI policy. Now, you could say that Ro Khanna, a Silicon Valley representative, would likely have come to Stanford anyway to discuss AI policy, which is true. We did see ideas supported at the workshops come up in future reports that staffers who attended the workshop contributed to (like the national research cloud, or reforms to recruiting and retaining cybersecurity talent in House Intelligence committee strategic technologies and advanced research subcommittee reports), and the idea of a White House "cyber czar" came up frequently during - but was not original to - the cyber policy workshops prior to the actual creation of the position. We are thinking about the best way to provably and publicly identify or document the impact of these workshops. Often a successful policy idea has "many fathers", as the saying goes, so it might be more effective to keep track of ideas promoted at the workshops that don't end up in policy.
-How are the participating staffers chosen/recruited? (Are you targeting offices strategically?)
For this summer bootcamp, I reached out to staffers who support members on, or are professional staffers for, science & tech, health, homeland security, and intelligence committees, as well as Hopkins' Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness, and a handful of personal recommendations. I initially reached out to legislative directors and chiefs of staff, and was from there occasionally directed to health policy directors, or legislative assistants focusing on pandemic preparedness or health or biotech. I emailed about 245 people to get to a final group of 20, with 10 who were initially yeses but had to drop out for scheduling reasons. Based on the track record of the cybersecurity workshops, I would expect that a successful workshop on this topic will lead to word-of-mouth interest and it will be a faster process to get to 20-25 attendees for next summer; I think keeping up engagement throughout the year will help with that also.
-What would you do if you only hit your minimum funding target of $75k?
The easiest thing to do in that case would be to scale back to only one event (late fall or early spring). I'd also consider partnering with another organization that has run a similar workshop (like Institute for Progress) to cost-share.
-Why quarterly instead of 2x/year; what about CHS: I have been in touch with CHS; while we didn't partner with them for the summer workshop because we wanted to hold it at Stanford, and get together as many Bay Area experts as we could, I would explore working with them for these DC events. The summer workshop is three days because that's the longest we can get approval to host Congressional staffers, but I think the quarterly (fall, winter, spring) events would be shorter - an afternoon plus cocktail reception - to lessen the time commitment on staffers and also allow those of us traveling from CA to spend time before and after the event having individual meetings. If there isn't sufficient interest for multiple DC events, or if it seems like these are cannibalizing the population of attendees who would otherwise go to the summer workshop, I'd consider scaling back to fewer events, or targeting different audiences that we aren't able to have all together at the summer workshop, like judicial staffers and journalists. We held one of the cybersecurity policy "bootcamps" for journalists and the media, and were considering having one for judicial staffers (this was shelved because there was a lot of interest from congressional staffers who hadn't been able to attend the previous workshop, and we didn't want to wait two years before offering a second congressional bootcamp).