Research & Policy Engagement

From AI to vaccines
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STPP is dedicated to fostering rigorous research from a range of disciplinary perspectives to inform scientists, engineers, and policymakers how we can develop and govern science and technology for the public good.

Our faculty, students, and staff engage in a variety of projects designed to inform the development of science, technology, and related policies. Many conduct scientific research on topics from climate change to pandemic modeling that inform public and public health responses. Others are devoted to ensuring that technologies are developed and distributed to promote the public interest and social justice goals, including artificial intelligence and clean energy. Finally, some develop systematic understandings of the political and policy landscapes of science and technology, examining the roles of experts, the differences in seemingly technical policies across countries, and the role of citizen activism. We amplify this research through our connections to science and technology policy leaders at the local, national, and international levels. 

The STPP Program also sponsors multiple applied research projects. We help our students research, write, and disseminate policy briefs. We have also created the Technology Assessment Project, which is pioneering an analogical case study approach to anticipating the implications of emerging technologies. 

Finally, a central tenet of the STPP Program’s philosophy is that we should not innovate for the people without engagement with people who are impacted by these policies. Thus, we partner with civil society groups and communities —particularly traditionally marginalized communities—to understand public values, priorities, and knowledge and then translate these insights to the scientific, engineering, and policy communities.

 

By answering questions that lawmakers had about scientific research practices, I gained a new appreciation for how influential effective science communication can be in shaping science policy.

Elizabeth A. Ronan, Molecular & Integrative Physiology Ph.D. Candidate & STPP certificate student
Research-intensive think tank

Technology Assessment Project (TAP)

Launched in Fall 2019, TAP research anticipates the implications of emerging technologies to help develop better technology policies. Projects range from facial recognition technology in schools, to solutions for vaccine hesitancy, to large language models.
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Public interest technology

STPP is the central hub of U-M's Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), 21 colleges and universities dedicated to building the nascent field of public interest technology and growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists.
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Received Wisdom podcast

A podcast that introduces its audience to cutting-edge thinkers and doers at the intersection of science, technology, policy, and society.
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STPP lecture series

Scholars and practitioners from a range of backgrounds discuss major issues in science and technology policy with the U-M community.
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Policy engagement

Graduate Student Lobby Day in Lansing

In May 2019, a coalition of 20 University of Michigan graduate students from Rackham Student Government, Graduate Rackham International, and Engaging Scientists in Policy and Advocacy went to Lansing, MI to advocate for increased appropriations for K-12 and postsecondary STEM education.
Michigan capitol building in Lansing, viewed from below
Congressional testimony

Equity considerations must be an integral part of energy research and development

Shobita Parthasarathy testified before members of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy on July 16, 2021.
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STPP lecture

A conversation on race, science, and policy with Osagie Obasogie

Watch the lecture by Osagie K. Obasogie, the Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Bioethics at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health.
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Policy brief

A Public Good? Geoengineering and Intellectual Property

This memo explores the possibility of creating a unique system for geoengineering patents, and investigates the current approach to atomic energy patents in the United States as a potential model to establish a patent system that will guide geoengineering technology toward the best interests of innovators and the public at large.
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