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Rosina Bierbaum

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Research Professor; Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics; Senior Fellow, CGS
  • Former Acting Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, White House
  • Chair, Scientific and Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility
  • Science Advisor, Global Commission on Adaptation

Rosina Bierbaum is the Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics at the University of Maryland, and a Professor and Dean Emerita of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Bierbaum’s experience extends from climate science into foreign relations and international development. She chairs the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, and serves as a Science Adviser to the Global Adaptation Commission. Bierbaum served for two decades in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and ran the first Environment Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She served on President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as an Adaptation Fellow at the World Bank, and co-author of the 2010 World Development Report on Climate Change. She has lectured on every continent.

Bierbaum is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Ecological Society of America, and Sigma Xi. She received the American Geophysical Union’s Waldo Smith award for ‘extraordinary service to Geoscience’ and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Award. Bierbaum serves on the boards of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Federation of American Scientists, AAAS, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the Climate Reality Project, the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, the International Finance Corporation Business and Sustainability Group, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. She earned a BA in English, a BS in biology and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution.

Areas of Interest
  • Climate change: mitigation & adaptation; science policy; development & environment
3 Credit(s)

This course explores how scientific and technical information gets used (or not used) in the formation of public policy, and how public policy influences science and technology development. Students will come away from this course with a fundamental understanding of the institutional landscape of S&T policy, the instruments of S&T policy implementation, and the processes of S&T policy decision-making. The landscape encompasses government, business, academic institutions, and NGOs. The policy mechanisms include government subsidies for research and development, enforcement of intellectual property rights, encouragement of public understanding of S&T, and much more. The processes range from direct democracy and litigation to legislative and bureaucratic decision-making. Along the way, students will examine some of the most challenging S&T-linked public-policy issues of the 21st century – climate change, energy, national security, innovation, spectrum allocation, environmental monitoring, agricultural productivity, the pursuit of sustainable economic development – and will grapple with the interlinked issues of S&T education, and the level of public participation in S&T decision making.

Schedule of Classes