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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 AimsScientific 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?
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.
Subject to approval of the Head of Department
Students must attend one activity from each section.
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 ArchibaldAdditional 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.
Domestic fee $1,847.00
International Postgraduate fees
* 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.