08 December 2010

A Seminar for University of Colorado Graduate Students

I recommend this excellent class to CU grad students for Spring, 2011:
ENVS 5100-002 Science and Technology Policy
Tuesdays 9:30 am- 12 pm
Professor Lisa Dilling (ldilling@colorado.edu)

It is the year 2011 and you are the Chair of the U.S. House Science Committee. On your plate is a decision whether or not to authorize a new program to conduct research in geoengineering, or deliberate climate modification. How would you decide? What kinds of considerations would enter into your decision? And how would you engage the debate over deployment of geoengineering technology in the future?

The field of science and technology policy research seeks to understand how we decide what science and technology is prioritized and funded, how we justify such expenditures in society, how we conduct science and technology for societal benefit, and how we govern the use of scientific and technological results in society.

This course seeks to introduce students to science and technology policy research. We will examine the workings of science policy in the government and private sector, and focus this semester on some key emerging topics in science policy such as the debate on research and governance of geoengineering. Student interests will also guide case study selection.


  1. How many jobs does this program create in my district?

  2. -1-Harrywr2

    In 1991 when I was at he House Science Committee one effort I was involved in under Chairman George Brown was working to overturn House Appropriations decision to terminate the space station. One of my jobs was to prepare individual "dear colleague" letters for members of the house (literally hundreds of them) explaining the direct number of space station jobs in their district. We won. That was science policy 101 for me ;-)

  3. How about corn? How much corn is this project going to require? Without the support of the farm state senators it is going to be awfully hard to move anything thru the Senate.

  4. To add to Roger's comment-
    What was interesting to me (from my experience in DC) was that DOE can lobby Congress directly because they have national labs that don't have to follow the same rules as agencies; I also remember a field trip to the National Ignition Facility where a large map was posted prominently that showed the districts where subcontractors were located. I did not feel that I had to crosscheck that map with chairs of important subcommittees...

  5. Sorry, the above comment #4 Terra is me, Sharon F. I posted under the wrong Google account.

  6. Sharon,
    I once had dinner in 1988 with a guy called Jo Cartwright, who had just been elected president of the Southern Regional Science Association, the conference of which my hosts had taken me to. (I had to act as discussant on a paper by one of Gorbachev's economic advisers, and was never surprised that perestroika failed - but that's another story!) Cartwright worked in Defense, and told me of the input-output model they had of defence contracts, showing dollars and jobs by Congressional district. I knew then both how the Military-Industrial Complex worked and why economists dislike input-output models.

  7. The fundamental purpose of a city state is that it offers the citizens of the state advantages not available to those who live outside the boundaries of the city state.

    I.E. If I live within the boundaries of a city-state I get city water, city sewer, trash collection, police protection and various other benefits not available to those living outside the boundaries of the city-state.

    It should come as a surprise to no one that representatives of city states evaluate policies based on whether they enhance the well being of residents of their particular city-state. That's the purpose of a city-state.

    One might argue that a body of representatives representing the nation/globe rather then city-states would yield better policy decisions, unfortunately the track record of 'one size fits all' national/international policy decisions is littered with failure.