Social Sciences Brown Bag

Dr. Adam Wellstead, Department of Social Sciences & Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture will present:

Policy Innovation Labs: An Opportunity for Michigan Tech?

The rapid emergence of Policy Innovation Labs (PILs) around the globe and across the United States and why these units have emerged is not very well understood. The motivation for turning to PILs as a supplementary place for the design of public policy has been attributed to a desire of governments to do policy-making differently. The focus on achieving workable outcomes entails a recognition by governments that they do not hold a monopoly of expertise and knowledge in finding solutions to collective problems. In response, a turn to collaborative and networked governance, and by extension, to PILs as a venue to bring a broad range of policy actors together in searching for solutions. Most of these units were established after 2011. My presentation highlights three funded research grants currently underway investigating PILs. The first project with Social Sciences Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC) focuses on the evolution of government-based PILs in Canada.  A broader perspective on PILs is considered in an US-Israel Binational Science Foundation Grant. Specifically, we consider the societal impacts of PILs. Finally, some early results from an NSF Science of Science and Innovation Policy project “Policy Innovation Labs: New Frontiers for STEM-Policy Innovation?” are presented. There has been little critical appraisal of the role in ‘rethinking design’ and formulating innovative science-based policies. An overlooked feature of PILs is space for STEM disciplines to contribute to policy design and innovations efforts. This research is particularly germane for the ongoing Tech Forward Initiative if universities are a feasible environment for science-policy based PILs.

Friday, January 17 at 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Academic Office Building (AOB), 201
1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931

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Department of Social Sciences

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Amy Spahn

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