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Science & Technology Policy

Science, photo by Daniel Chen

Science and technology play a central role in our contemporary lives, intersecting with multiple areas of public policy from the environment and human health to national security, and international affairs. Policy issues are often complex and contentious, requiring collaborations between academia, government, industry and the public. Our Science and Technology initiative aims to:

  1. Showcase and support the science and technology research, teaching and public engagement efforts within the School
  2. Create new opportunities for cross-campus and cross-sector (government, industry, NGO) collaboration in research, education/training, public engagement and network building related to science and technology policy.

The initiative brings together a multidisciplinary cohort of faculty and students from across the UMD campus to improve understanding, analysis and intervention in science and technology policymaking. We will leverage and build on existing efforts to create a strong identity of local and national leadership in S&T policy within the School and across the UMD campus. Existing units within the School that have ongoing S&T policy work include:

With our proximity to Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, our historical interest in S&T policy issues and our breadth and depth of expertise, we are striving to become the local and national leader in the science, technology and policy interface. Demand for such expertise is growing as Congress and state legislatures, government agencies and citizens look for expert information on issues of national interest.

Additionally, universities need to demonstrate the impact of their publicly-funded research and land grant universities, such as UMD, have an obligation to support S&T policy.  Over the past several years, the UMD campus community has shown increased interest and demand to learn how to more effectively engage in S&T policy and to increase their impact on local, national and international issues relevant to their research expertise.


Courses You Might be Interested In

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