Science and Public Policy

One of the most striking developments of contemporary governance has been its increasing engagement with the world of science. This is no longer only the case for the special domain of research and development policy where public authorities seek to actively promote scientific and technological innovations. Within the recent decades nearly all domains of public policy-making have become profoundly “scientized”: If it concerns the negotiation of a climate policy agreement, the endorsement of a new medical therapy, the release of a genetically modified organism, a treatment scheme for sexual delinquents, the regulation of financial instruments, a public aid program to combat poverty or the transfer of technologies to developing countries – there is barely any area of governance where policy-makers do not base their decisions on the scrutinized evaluation and consultation by some sorts of scientific or professional experts. The evolution, structure and wider social implications of this tightening science-policy nexus are the theme of this program.

What are the institutional channels through which science is articulated and incorporated into policy-making processes? How does this influence the relations of power under which policies are negotiated? How does science achieve and maintain its credibility in the policy arena? And how does all of this work back into the organization, the research agendas and the methods of the science themselves? By addressing these and related questions, this specialization program provides the students with the reflective resources necessary to understand and scrutinize the ways in which public policy operates under the conditions of an emerging knowledge-society. This specialization will prepare the students for a broad spectrum of professional functions related to the formulation, execution, and the consequences of science-based policies.

To address these issues, the specialization combines insights and methods from science and technology studies from the core of the ESST-program with those of related fields of public policy analysis (political science, political sociology, institutional economics). The specialization deals with the science-policy interaction as a general phenomenon of contemporary society. This specialization allows students to concentrate on case studies of specific interest to them but analyzed using a mix of tools provided through lectures, seminar discussions, and assignments.

The participants in this specialization will gain in-depth appreciation of different methods, theories, and practical tools to deconstruct complex policy choice problems and to identify and evaluate viable policy alternatives. By the end of this training module the participants will:

· Understand the various ways in which policy problems can be framed

· Be capable of applying a systemic perspective to policy problem solving

· Be capable of analytic reasoning and communication

The participants will be introduced to the main case-based theoretical models for problem definition, design of policy alternatives, and outcome assessment. While participants will become technically equipped, they are also encouraged to develop a sense of humility about the limits of their tools and the relative adequacy or inadequacy of alternative models for decision‑making. Most importantly, the participants will learn how to communicate their expertise concisely and convincingly.

Schedule of Introductory course

The specialization is divided into two parts. The first part consists of five intensive weeks of lectures, self-organized tutor groups and seminars (February – March) during which the students will become fully acquainted with the fundamentals of policy and institutional analysis in the public, private, and non-profit sector organizations. For the remaining five months the students will work, under the supervision of Maastricht University’s FaSoS instructors, on a thesis in a thematic area of their choice within the science policymaking arena. Students will have their own supervisor from among the FaSoS academic staff members who will work with the students on a one-to-one basis to carve out a thesis project that, in most cases, will involve both empirical work and theoretical reflection.

As part of this specialization there is a possibility for an internship at the Rathenau Institute in The Hague. The Rathenau Institute promotes the formation of political and public opinion on science and technology. To this end, the Institute studies the organization and development of science systems, publishes about social impact of new technologies, and organizes debates on issues and dilemmas in science and technology.

Second, students have the opportunity to write their thesis under the supervision of one of the staff members of the International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), at the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences. ICIS addresses complex issues facing the planet and its inhabitants. Its aims are to conduct research and provide education in the fields of integrated assessment and sustainable development.

Thirdly, the ESST program in Maastricht collaborates with the Institute of Health Policy & Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam). Their research program has its focus on regulation and competition in health care, quality and efficiency in health care, and adaptation of health care organizations to the competative environment.

Fourthly, the ESST programme in Maastricht also collaborates with The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), an interdisciplinary institute at Leiden University which studies the dynamics of science, technology and innovation.

Finally, the ESST-specialisation is based on close collaboration with the staff members of the Spiral Research Centre at the L’université de Liège, Belgium.

Language of Instruction
The specialization will be given in English. All literature for the core sessions and the sessions themselves are in English. All Faculty members will use English as the medium of communication with the students throughout this course.

Minimum and maximum number of students: Minimum is 4
Maximum: to be decided

Core literature

· Barry, Andrew (2001). Political Machines. Governing a Technological Society. London: Athlone.

· Burchell, Graham (ed.) (1991). The Foucault Effect. Studies in Governmentality. London: Harvester Wheatersheaf.

· Callon, Michel; Lascombe, Pierre; Barthe, Jannick (2009): Acting in an Uncertain World. An Essay on Technological Democracy. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

· Dean, Mitchel (1999) Governmentality. Power and Rule in Modern Society. London: Sage.

· Haas, P. (1990) Saving the Mediterranean. New York: Columbia University Press.

· Jasanoff, S. (1990). The Fifth Branch. Cambridge. Mass: Cambridge University Press.

· Jasanoff, S. (2004). States of Knowledge. The Co-production of Science and Social Order. London: Routledge.

· Jasanoff, S. (2005). Designs on Nature. Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

· Kingdon, J. (1984 [1995]). Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (Boston: Little, Brown [1984]; New York: Harper Collins [1995]).

· Kemp, R., S. Parto, and R.B. Gibson (2005). “Governance for sustainable development: moving from theory to practice”, International Journal of Sustainable Development, 8(1-2): 12-30.

· Parto, S. (2005a). “Taking Stock: Institutions and Economic Activity”. Journal of Economic Issues, 39 (1): 21-52

· Parto, S. (2005b).”’Good Governance and Policy Analysis: What of Institutions?”, available here.

· Scott, James (1998). Seeing Like a State. New Haven: Yale University Press.

· Sabatier, P.A. (1999) (Ed.), Theories of the Policy Process (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).

· Yarime, M. and S. Parto (2005). Governance of Technological Transitions: Lessons from the Japanese Experience, available here.

Examples (past) thesis topics

· Governance of Nanotechnology

· Political Decision Making under Uncertainty: the Precautionary Principle in the Case of GMO’s

· On Route to Sustainability: Canadian Municipal Attempts to Reduce Automobile Dependency

· Patents, Pharaceuticals and Politics: South Africa’s Struggle for affordable AIDS medication

· The politics of socio-technical change: the case of damming technology in South-East Anatolia, Turkey

· Scientific Collaboration and the Making of Europe: Network governance in science and technology.

· Advisors, Knowledge Brokers, or Professionals? Transformations of Science Policy Expertise in three European Countries.

· Governing through Knowledge: How Economists reinvented Polish Society.

Thesis examples
The Belgian governance over Genetically Modified Organisms: A comparative analysis of Wallonia and Flanders – Yoan Lollo

From gender studies to biomedical and health-related research: A critical analysis of gender incorporation in the European Commission framework programmes – Sofie Hansen


Name and email address specialization coordinator

Dr. Jens Lachmund,
Dr. Saeed Parto,

List of involved staff members
The staff members involved in the ESST programme participate in the Research Institute for Science and Technology Studies

Prof. Dr. Marjolein van Asselt: risk governance / future studies, foresight, scenario-analysis / dealing with uncertainty

Prof. Dr. Karin Bijsterveld: history and sociology of science and technology / contemporary history / history of sound and noise / technology and music / gender and technology / elderly and technology / history of old age / network society

Dr. Anique Hommels: vulnerability of ICT-infrastructure / standardization / emergency communication / obduracy of sociotechnology

Dr. Jens Lachmund: environment / cities / nature / Europe / bodies and medical practices / space and place

Dr. Jessica Mesman: ethnography of Knowledge Practices; Risk and Safety Studies; Patient Safety; Intensive Care Unit, Innovation – Exnovation;

Dr. Saeed Parto: Policy Analysis / Institutional Analysis / Governance of/for X / Innovation Studies / (Old) Institutional Economics / International Development / Environmental Management.

Dr. Bernike Pasveer: The management’ of knowledge(s) in complex situations and processes; studying and articulating how the design of development programs frame how change takes shape; 
learning and knowledge in international cooperation

Dr. Esha Shah: Technological paradigm and spread of genetically modified Bt cotton technology in India; farmers’ suicides and technological vulnerability; politics and science and technology studies in India; risk discourses and new emerging technologies in India, and history of green revolution technology; community-led natural resource management and politics of development.

Dr. Geert Somsen: ideological uses of science / history of scientific internationalism / science and nationalism / science and socialism / politically active scientists / history of conferences

Dr. R. Zeiss: standardization, regulation and governance / uncertain risks / science & technology in/for developing countries / science-policy boundary work and knowledge brokerage/ regulatory and regulated science / water / sanitation / public health / environment

Web link to University of Maastricht website and information accommodation

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