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Ogmius Newsletter

Ogmius Exchange I

Reflections of a Former Graduate Student
by Nat Logar

Nat LogarAt the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and in my time since, Iíve  focused on how science and technology,  especially at the federal level, can interact with society in an efficient, effective manner.  When I began graduate school at the University of Colorado, I was primarily concerned with the geological and atmospheric complexities that accompany global climate change, but after interactions I had with professors and other students at CSTPR, my research interests shifted.  While Iíve continually been aware of the impact science can have on different areas of concern, it required some time at CSTPR to begin to appreciate the policy work that is integral to directing science towards impact.  I moved from scientific research on climate change to science policy research on climate change.  By the time I left CSTPR, my research stressed the importance of science and technology decision making, and the gains that can be made when science is well-prioritized, capably managed and implemented, and addressed in the right way to the policy makers, companies, and citizens that comprise the users of science.  While climate change was and is still an important issue to me, I have become more invested in how science undertakings organize around different kinds of problems.  I studied federal institutions, like the National Institute of Standards & Technology and the Naval Research Laboratory, in an attempt to illuminate the processes leading to usable science.

Neither my day-to-day work, nor my area of specialization or broad research focus, has changed too drastically since my time at CSTPR.  I spent some time doing research at Arizona State Universityís Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, working on science policies for sustainability.  I am now a research fellow at Harvardís Kennedy School of Government, contributing to a larger project on energy technology and innovation.  My role in the project is to examine energy innovation institutions, such as national laboratories like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and industry consortia such as the Electric Power Research Institute.  In doing so, I use many of the tools, strategies, and concepts developed or taught by faculty at CSTPR, such as Roger Pielke Jr. and Lisa Dilling, or by center affiliates like Dan Sarewitz.  I am still primarily focused on how decision makers can manage institutions in order to promote good outcomes for science and technology users, and Iím hoping to have some impact on how we use science and technology research to solve societal problems.  The level of knowledge and expertise my previous work empowered me with has made each new research step easier to conceptualize, design, and implement.  My work is a continuation of the thinking and the research I conducted at CSTPR, and Iím hoping to expand these efforts in my time here.

Nat Logar
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Harvard University