The Science Policy Bootcamp is a 4-day short course, offered during MIT's Independent Activities Period in January, designed to introduce graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to the 'nuts and bolts' of science policy making. The course provides an opportunity for young scientists and engineers interested in science policy issues to increase their understanding about and practical involvement with science policy. The bootcamp serves to both expose participants to the fundamental structure and dynamics of science policy and inform them of routes into a policy experience or career.

More about boot camp

Topics discussed will include:

  • The drivers behind science and technology support: growth economics, direct and indirect innovation factors, innovation systems theory, the “valley of death” between R&D and public-private partnership models;

  • The organizing framework behind US science agencies, and the DARPA model as an alternative;
  • The way innovation is organized when it’s face-to-face, including "great group" theory;
  • The barriers and challenges to health science advance;
  • The energy technology challenge – how the science/tech innovation system needs to be organized to meet it within an existing and established complex legacy economic sector.
  • The challenges for advanced manufacturing and scaling-up startups.

The course will consist of lectures, readings, and discussions Monday through Thursday, and a panel on MIT's work in advanced manufacturing Friday morning. Lunch will be provided Monday-Thursday. This course will be offered both for credit and not for credit. Credit will be based on class participation and a short paper. Those participating in the MIT Graduate Certificate Program in Science, Technology, and Policy ( ) will be required to take this course for credit.

All students taking the course for credit must indicate their intent prior to the start of the course. They will be required to submit a 4 page, single-spaced paper on an innovation group related to class #3 on innovation at the face-to-face level. The paper will be due in February.

Accepted students MUST commit to attend all sessions to earn a spot in the class. Class participants will have the opportunity to apply what they learn by participating in the Congressional Visit Days in Washington, D.C. in March 2017.