Science and technology play a central role in our modern world. With the potential to transform the way we live, work, and govern, these fields pose novel dilemmas for political and policy discussion. For example, how should decision-makers contend with competing understandings of the scientific evidence regarding climate change? In what way should we incorporate ethical and social concerns into the regulatory infrastructures for innovations such as biotechnology and nanotechnology?
The Ford School’s Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) program confronts these types of questions, seeking to improve understanding, analysis, and intervention in science and technology policymaking. It approaches these issues from two perspectives:
- Science and Technology for Policy: How science and technology are used to develop and affect public policies in a wide range of domains such as national security, public health, economic competitiveness, and environmental sustainability.
- Policy for Science and Technology: How policies are developed to promote beneficial scientific and technological development at the international, national, state, and local levels, such as the allocation of research funding and regulation of new research and technologies.
Launched in Fall 2006, STPP is a university-wide education and research program comprised of three separate components:
- In the Graduate Certificate Program, graduate students from across the University analyze the role of science and technology in the policymaking process, gain experience writing for policymakers, and explore the political and policy landscape of areas such as biotechnology, information technology, energy, and others.
- In the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, fellows conduct research, teach STPP courses, and provide guidance to the program’s academically diverse students.
- The Lecture Series brings scholars and practitioners from a range of backgrounds to campus to discuss major issues in science and technology policy, providing a forum for the STPP community to network with people from departments across campus and beyond.
The postdoctoral fellowship program and the lecture series were initially made possible by a grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.