PubPol 650

PubPol 650 Introduction to Science and Technology Policy Analysis

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Winter 2024
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Science and technology intersect with multiple areas of public policy. Think of the growing concerns over technological surveillance, the debates over policy for climate change mitigation, the challenges posed by COVID-19, or the fear that American research and development competitiveness is eroding in a globalized economy. These issues reflect important questions about the relationship between science, technology, and public policy. Are scientific and technological developments governable, and if so, how and by whom? Is more and better science always better for policymaking? Who is the best judge of the value of scientific research programs and the policy relevance of scientific findings? Are scientific and technological innovations generally socially beneficial, and who decides? 

This course introduces theories and methodologies for science and technology policy analysis. You will learn how science and technology policy is made, with specific attention to the roles of government agencies, expert advisory committees, the private sector, and civil society. You will learn analytical tools for science and technology policy analysis, including values analysis, technology assessment, and deliberative democratic design. And you will learn to apply cutting edge theories and approaches for governing science and technology to a number of policy problems. This analytic toolkit will be drawn from literature in a range of disciplines, including political science, philosophy, sociology, history, and the science of science policy. No scientific, technical, or policy background is required to take the course.

 This course will provide:

•       Background on the science and technology policy environment

•       An understanding of the “social science” of science and technology policy

•       Skills to think critically about how science and technology can be used to help solve social problems

•       A multidisciplinary toolkit for analyzing and influencing science and technology policy

•       Expertise in conducting S&T policy analysis

•       An introduction to career paths in science and technology policy

PubPol 650 is a core course in the Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) Graduate Certificate Program, but is not limited to STPP students. It is designed for graduate students from diverse disciplines, including public policy, public health, law, business, engineering and the social, biological, and physical sciences.