Conference of Interest – Science, Technology and Innovation

January 23rd, 2006

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This announcement has been out for a while, but I bring it to the attention of Prometheus readers because it highlights some of the same things we talked about after my post “Policy Sciences and the Field of S&T Policy.” That is, this is a conference that intends to be critical about the progress of research in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation. Here’s the important information:

The Future of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: Linking Research And Practice SPRU 40th Anniversary Conference, 11th-13th September 2006 (link)

This conference … offers the opportunity to engage in a critical evaluation of the present and future research agenda of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) field.

Those interested in presenting a paper should submit a 500-word abstract by 17 March 2006 along with their full contact details. The abstract should be submitted to . All abstracts will be subject to peer-review.

Authors will be informed whether their papers have been accepted by 10 April 2006.

Final papers must be submitted by 14 July 2006; the maximum length is 5,000 words.

Participants for the conference are encouraged to register as early as possible, and at the latest by 31 July 2006. The conference fee will be £250 (£200 for students), or £300 (£250 for students) if you also wish to attend the Conference Dinner and the Reception in the Brighton Pavilion. This fee does not include any travel or accommodation costs. A late registration fee of £75 will be payable by those who register after 31 July (assuming there are still places available).”

I encourage everyone to read the full announcement. Depending on who you ask, there is little or no difference between STP and the Science, Technology and Innovation field. Arguably its members are more European (SPRU is in England, STI programs in the U.S. include George Washington University and Georgia Tech); focus more on policy for science, technology and innovation (while many in STP are more concerned with how science influences policy); and are focused more on quantitative analysis. But I don’t think anyone who identifies with STP would feel out of place at STI, or at this conference.

But as I mentioned at the start, this conference is making an effort to have a reflective, critical discussion about the progress of STI. Some excerpts:

“We aim to identify fruitful new ways forward in the field of STI policy by subjecting these established frameworks to structured debate and critical evaluation.”

“[W]e would like to engage in a critical evaluation of the approaches developed by the STI research community and their use in policy practice.”

“(ii) Contribution of Our Studies to Policy-Making – What is the evidence that we, the research community, have actually helped to improve the quality and effectiveness of policy and management? In particular, what are the unanticipated consequences of our models on policy-making?”

“Overall, we invite participants and contributions that are willing to engage in developing the future research agenda of the STI field. The conference aims to trigger a critical and collective dialogue that could contribute to making the STI field more exciting and challenging for our research community, more relevant to policy practice and more ‘in synch’ with society at large.”

This last sentence, to me, summarizes what I think any public policy research community should ask themselves, and ask themselves frequently. Even if you can’t attend this conference in September, I encourage you to keep asking these questions in your own work and other conferences and workshops.

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