Evan Michelson

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service

Evan S. Michelson, Ph.D. is is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is also a Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dr. Michelson is responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s Energy and Environment Program, which seeks to advance understanding about the economic, environmental, security, and policy tradeoffs associated with the increased deployment of low- and no-carbon resources and technologies across the energy system. He also manages the Foundation’s grantmaking to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (IV), an international astrophysics research collaboration focused on exploring the evolution and structure of the universe, the formation of stars and galaxies, the history of the Milky Way, and the science behind dark matter.

Dr. Michelson has experience designing trend monitoring, horizon scanning, and strategic foresight processes throughout the social sector. Previously, Dr. Michelson was a Director at the Markle Foundation, overseeing research activities and the systemic collection, analysis, and dissemination of forward-looking information covering a wide range of technology, economic, and policy issues. Dr. Michelson was also an Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he co-created and implemented a global network of horizon scanning organizations and guided the Foundation’s early stage idea generation efforts. Dr. Michelson also served as a Research Associate for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and worked as a visiting researcher in the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. He also developed public science and technology outreach and education programs as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow at The National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Michelson received his Ph.D. at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. He also received a M.A. in international science and technology policy from The George Washington University, a M.A. in the philosophical foundations of physics from Columbia University, and a B.A. in philosophy of science from Brown University. He is the author of the book Assessing the Societal Implications of Emerging Technologies (Routledge, 2016) and has published a number of articles and book chapters in journals and collections such as Review of Policy Research, Science and Public Policy, Technology in Society, Public Administration Review, International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, Development, Foresight, Journal of Industrial Ecology, and The Innovation Imperative. Dr. Michelson is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

New developments in all areas of science and technology have become deeply interwoven into all aspects of daily life and are among the most primary forces shaping the long-term trajectory of our social, economic, and political systems. These not only include the socially oriented technological considerations that we think of and encounter on a regular basis, such as ubiquitous digital connectivity or privacy on the web. New scientific findings and technological advancements from the latter half of the 20th Century onward—in areas as diverse as biotechnology, infrastructure, and space travel—have left indelible marks on society. There are expectations that, early in the 21st Century, the rapid acceleration of new technologies from emerging fields such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and geoengineering have the potential to transform our world over the coming decades.

However, science, technology, and innovation policy in the United States is often an overlooked component when considering how new scientific findings and technological innovations get developed and enter the marketplace. The purpose of this course to better understand the history, concepts, and institutions underpinning contemporary science, technology, and innovation policy. The course examine both traditional and more recent issues shaping the science and technology policy landscape. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the ways in which government policies and decisions can influence which areas of science and technology are undertaken (often termed policy for science)
  • Understand how scientific and technical information can be applied and contribute to government decision-making (termed science for policy).
  • Understand the changing relationships between government, academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations in regards to science, technology, and innovation policy.

Specific examples and case studies will be regularly used to illuminate the changing science, technology, and innovation ecosystem. Students do not need any formal training in science or technology for this class, just an interest in learning about societal impact of new technologies. Students should have a basic background in public policy, having taken Introduction to Public Policy.

Download Syllabus

New developments in all areas of science and technology have become deeply interwoven into all aspects of daily life and are among the most primary forces shaping the long-term trajectory of our social, economic, and political systems. These not only include the socially oriented technological considerations that we think of and encounter on a regular basis, such as ubiquitous digital connectivity or privacy on the web. New scientific findings and technological advancements from the latter half of the 20th Century onward—in areas as diverse as biotechnology, infrastructure, and space travel—have left indelible marks on society. There are expectations that, early in the 21st Century, the rapid acceleration of new technologies from emerging fields such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and geoengineering have the potential to transform our world over the coming decades.

However, science, technology, and innovation policy in the United States is often an overlooked component when considering how new scientific findings and technological innovations get developed and enter the marketplace. The purpose of this course to better understand the history, concepts, and institutions underpinning contemporary science, technology, and innovation policy. The course examine both traditional and more recent issues shaping the science and technology policy landscape. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the ways in which government policies and decisions can influence which areas of science and technology are undertaken (often termed policy for science)
  • Understand how scientific and technical information can be applied and contribute to government decision-making (termed science for policy).
  • Understand the changing relationships between government, academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations in regards to science, technology, and innovation policy.

Specific examples and case studies will be regularly used to illuminate the changing science, technology, and innovation ecosystem. Students do not need any formal training in science or technology for this class, just an interest in learning about societal impact of new technologies. Students should have a basic background in public policy, having taken Introduction to Public Policy.

Download Syllabus