POLS443-19S1 (C) Semester One 2019

Science, Technology and Environmental Policy

30 points
18 Feb 2019 - 23 Jun 2019

Description

This course focuses on the analysis and evaluation of comparative national policies for science, technology and engineering. Scientific innovation and investment are crucial to both economic and environmental sustainability, but the dynamics of policy-making in this domain often lead to public mistrust and conflict. Based on the case study method, this course will examine STEP with reference to issues such as: geo-engineering and climate change; energy policy; autonomous machines and the robotic revolution; and advanced biotechnologies for human health and the environment.

This course focuses on:
1.  the analysis and evaluation of comparative national innovation policies for science, technology and the environment;
2. applied tools for policy analysis in science and technology;
3. critical approaches to science, technology, and power in democratic societies; and
4. core concepts such as anticipatory governance, existential risk, and technology foresight.

Course Aims

Scientific innovation and investment are crucial to both economic and environmental sustainability, but the dynamics of policy-making in this domain often lead to public mistrust and conflict. Integrating seminar readings with the case study method, this course will thus examine science, technology and environmental policy (STEP) with reference to issues such as: geo-engineering and climate change; energy policy; autonomous machines and the robotic revolution; and advanced biotechnologies for human health and the environment. Students will also be encouraged to research cases of specific interest and to share insights with the group. As this is a public policy course, students from various disciplines are welcome.

Major questions we will consider include:

• How do science, technology, the environment and politics interact?
• How does (scientific) “truth” interact with (political) “power?”
• How do different sources of public authority and legitimacy – politics, expertise, the law, and the market – relate to one another in the context of S&T?
• What conflicts exist among them?
• How is political decision-making possible in light of scientific controversies and irreducible risks?
• How do organizations at the interface between science and politics work?
• What is the role of “the public” in S&T policy?
• How do societies cope with unavoidable technological risk, failures, and disasters?

Learning Outcomes

  • Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • Research, plan, and present a professional public policy analysis, and demonstrate understanding of professional expectations and ethics in the field.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the theory and practice of public policy analysis and of the ways in which science, technology and environmental policy pose particular challenges to democratic governance.
  • Use a self-reflective approach to evaluate complex policy problems and to understand how personal values can underpin public policy positions.
  • Understand how to ask relevant critical questions when approaching difficult debates and complex theories in science, technology and environmental policy.
  • Understand and analyse complex real-world cases in science, technology and environmental policy analysis.
  • Present their ideas and policy proposals confidently in a formal setting.
  • Understand potential pathways into a career in public policy analysis at the local, national, or international level.

Pre-requisites

Subject to approval of the Head of Department

Timetable 2019

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 12:00 - 15:00 Jack Erskine 235 18 Feb - 7 Apr
29 Apr - 2 Jun

Course Coordinator

Amy Fletcher

Assessment

Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final Exam 30%
Participation 15% Includes leading 2 discussions
Tech Policy Problem Statement 29 Mar 2016 10% 600-800 words
Technology policy essay 24 May 2016 30% 3,000-3,500 words
In-class policy foresight exercise 17 May 2019 15%

Textbooks

Three required books:

• Innovation: A Very Short Introduction, Mark Dodgson and David Gann
• The Future: A Very Short Introduction, Jennifer M. Gidley
• Genomics: A Very Short Introduction, John Archibald


Additional required readings are available by clicking on the appropriate link in the syllabus posted on Learn.
Note: you can also search the University Library catalogue, by journal title, to find the articles, if a link proves to be outdated.
There will be additional, short readings on each case study topic. These will be drawn primarily from news sources. The links will be posted on Learn prior to the case study.
I will post lecture notes on our Learn site, and provide links to sources that may be useful for background information and/or your research.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,847.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All POLS443 Occurrences

  • POLS443-19S1 (C) Semester One 2019