Course Subject
Course Number
Course Credit

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

Course Description

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.


CORE-GP 1022 or URPL-GP 2660

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