International Policy Center Home Page

Science and technology policy

Urgent questions at the intersection of science, technology, and public policy are shaping nearly every aspect of our society. Science and technology policies shape transportation, communication, public safety, social services, and much more.

And scientific innovation, from its development to regulation, has significant equity implications. We need policy professionals who can navigate the social, ethical, and economic implications of vaccine equity, algorithms, big data, surveillance technology, climate change, and more—and who have the skills to design policies that advance shared values and maximize public benefit.

From rigorous research to training a cadre of public policy specialists, the Ford School helps shape science and technology for the public good.

Our one-of-a-kind Science, Technology, and Public Policy program brings a rigorous interdisciplinary lens and community wisdom to understand the benefits and risks of emerging technologies on marginalized communities and translates what we've learned to policymakers, engineers, scientists, and civil society to produce more equitable and just science, technology, and related policies. If you have any questions about the STPP Program, email [email protected].

How can we think more creatively to make sure that artificial intelligence achieves its potential but is not used to systematically harm people who are marginalized."

Shobita Parthasarathy, Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program


Research insights

What's in the Chatterbox?

STPP finds machine learning algorithms risk reinforcing inequalities, tax the environment and place still more power in the hands of tech giants.
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Research insights

Hausman finds information failures affect pollution exposure and household well-being

A lack of information is an often overlooked but important cause of pollution exposure among low-income households or communities of color.
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Research insights

Facial recognition technology should be banned in schools

Parthasarathy's analysis finds that facial recognition exacerbates racism—and is not accurate.
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Student experience

Observing climate change policymaking up close in Glasgow

Three Ford School students were part of a U-M delegation sent to observe the negotiations, attend side events and interact with various climate experts.
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Faculty expertise

Ford School faculty participate in Global Vaccine Equity Ideas Lab

Multidisciplinary teams of U-M faculty researchers met for three days to develop new ways to increase vaccine equity globally. Faculty will be invited to co-design full projects with global partners.
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Research insights

Should high-stakes government decisions be reliant on machine learning?

Ben Green and computer scientist Yiling Chen (Harvard) provide the first direct evidence that algorithmic risk assessments create more harm and exacerbate racial disparities.
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Alumni impact

Melvin Washington (MPP/STPP '18) on how sci/tech policy informs criminal justice reform

"Policymakers are not automatons that objectively evaluate data and make perfectly rational decisions. The way they react to the scientific findings we present to them is shaped by a combination of their own value judgements regarding specific forms of knowledge production, expertise, ethical mandates, and pragmatism."
Read Melvin's story


The Received Wisdom

Shobita Parthasarathy and Jack Stilgoe on science and technology in public policy.

Resources Radio

Climate change, energy, ecosystems, and more, hosted by Daniel Raimi.

America Dissected

Host Abdul El-Sayed cuts into the science, culture, and policy that shapes our health.