0000002674 18S 4SWS SE Introduction to Science & Technology Policy   Hilfe Logo

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Introduction to Science & Technology Policy 
Summer semester 2018
Assistant Professorship of Innovation Research (Prof. Pfotenhauer)
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This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the key questions and issues facing societies in the increasingly important intersection between science, technology, and public policy. Students will explore how science and technology (S&T) enter the policy-process, how public policy and political interests shape S&T, how changes in S&T pose questions that require political and public attention, and how S&T are being governed through institutions. Among the range of topics covered are:

• What is the “right” relationship between science, technology, and politics? What models exist? 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?
• Why do societies fund science? How do they govern it?
• Do technologies have inherent political or ethical properties?
• How do we envision the world through S&T? How do these visions relate to national political cultures?
• How do societies cope with unavoidable technological risk, failures, and disasters?
• How much should we rely on models? What is the role of models in the policy-process?

Over the course of the semester, students will acquire a range of concepts and analytic lenses from the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Public Policy that will help them to deal with complex questions surrounding the politics of science and technology, identify fundamental patterns and recurring tensions in S&T policy, and speak about them with confidence in the context of their own research. In particular, students will be encouraged to take and defend normative positions on the questions and cases they encounter during the class. Case studies will draw upon a range of S&T areas and may include, among other things climate change, environmental regulation, nuclear power, biotechnology, public health, military technology, geoengineering, and space.

One of the central themes of the class and the starting point for our discussion is the notion of a “rational” policy process – i.e. one tries to find “optimal” solutions for well-defined problems based on unambiguous scientific evidence, and implements these solutions with the precision of a “social engineer.” We will contrast this notion with ideals of an open, deliberative political process that accommodates a plurality of values, opinions, and life choices. The course will trace this fundamental tension of technocratic vs. deliberative politics throughout a wide range of S&T policy problems and sites.
For the final sessions of the course, we might invite 1-2 guest lecturers working in different S&T policy-domains for a first-hand exposure to ongoing debates. The class will vote on the domains from which guest speakers will be invited – options are energy policy, environmental policy, IT/internet policy, innovation policy, space policy, health policy, resource policy, among others.

See attached syllabus for more information.
This course is offered as part of the core curriculum of the MCTS Master's in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and builds on knowledge that students from the STS Master's have obtained in the winter term. It is also relevant for graduate student in management specializing in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Consumer Affairs, or Economics and Policy.

However, the course is explicitly open to graduate students with other backgrounds interested in S&T Policy – including from the social sciences and humanities (e.g. political science, economics, philosophy), engineering, natural science, architecture, and law.

Interested students who are NOT part of the STS Master's or the School of Management Master's programs must consult with the instructor in order to be admitted to the course due to space constraints. Please send a short email explaining your interest in this course and any background in STS, Public Policy, or related subjects you might have to the instructor.
• Students will understand and apply basic concepts and analytic tools from the fields of STS and Public Policy (e.g. deliberative vs. technocratic policy approaches, expertise and other sources of legitimacy in decision-making, scientific controversies, boundary work)

• Students will be able to systematically analyze complex problems using these concepts and tools, particularly with regard to current questions and policy debates at the interface of science, technologly, society, and public policy (e.g. trade-offs between competing values in science policy, public engagement in scientific and technological controversies, governing scientific input into science policy decision-making, technology design ethics, responsible research and innovation)

• Students will have knowledge of a range of classical STS and Policy case studies and be able to draw parallels to current events and discussions (e.g. nuclear power, TTIP, biotechnology, infrastructure development)

• Students will acquire basic knowledge of current research topics and methods in STS and Public Policy

This course follows a hybrid seminar-lecture format where students will both receive lecture-style input to obtain a systematic overview of specific topics and issues, and engage in extensive in-class discussions with their peers to learn how to reflect and position themselves with regard to these issues. Lectures and discussions will be based on a weekly assigned readings, which will be provided to students in the syllabus at the beginning of the term. A key part of the instruction is hence based on the close reading of weekly assigned texts and reflection/interpretation of the arguments contained therein. Moreover, the course will use regular exercises to assess learning progress and practice the application of course content to real-life cases.
Für die Anmeldung zur Teilnahme müssen Sie sich in TUMonline als Studierende/r identifizieren.
Note: This is a reading- and discussion-intensive class! Participants should be prepared to read 3-4 readings per week (approx. 25 pages each) and occasionally more (especially during the first weeks of class). Please do not take the class if your aim is to be primarily on the receiving end of the classroom or if you cannot make the necessary time commitment. The language of instruction for this class is English, and all assignments and the final exam must be completed in English.

Interested students who are NOT part of the STS Master's must consult with the instructor in order to be admitted to the course. Please send a short email explaining your interest in this course and any background in STS, Public Policy, or related subjects you might have to "sebastian.pfotenhauer@tum.de."

See "Previous knowledge expected" section for more information.
See attached syllabus for more information.
Online information
e-learning course (moodle)