Jan
22
to Jan 26

Science Policy Bootcamp (MIT IAP short course)

The 2018 Science and Technology Policy Bootcamp will be held Monday, January 22 to Friday, January 26, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (Monday-Thursday), 9:00 am - 12:00 pm (Friday).

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 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 (http://web.mit.edu/stp) 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 a topic covered in class. The paper will be due in February.

Accepted students MUST commit to attending all sessions to earn a spot in the class. Class participants will have the opportunity to apply what they learn by participating in the MIT Science Policy Initiative (SPI) Congressional Visit Days in Washington, D.C. in March 2018.

Contact: Quantum Wei, qwei@mit.edu  

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Dec
11
11:58 PM23:58

Deadline to apply to Science Policy Bootcamp (IAP Course)

The IAP Science Policy Bootcamp application is available here.

17.925, 3 credits (if taken for credit)
Contact: Quantum Wei, qwei@mit.edu
Application deadline is 11:59pm on Monday, December 11
Organized by the MIT Science Policy Initiative: http://spi.mit.edu/

The 2018 Science and Technology Policy Bootcamp will be held Monday, January 22 to Friday, January 26, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (M-R), 9:00 am - 12:00 pm (F).

Science and technology public policy shapes the education, research, and innovation system that is vital for economic growth and improvements in societal well-being. This five-day seminar, taught by MIT Washington, D.C. Office Director Bill Bonvillian, will examine the policy decisions behind, and the government’s role in the science and technology-based innovation system. Given the challenges to future federal science support, this seminar will also aim to equip those planning careers in and around science and technology with the basic background for involvement in science policy-making. Undergraduate and graduate students from all faculties are welcome.

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 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 ( http://web.mit.edu/stp ) 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, due in February.

Accepted students MUST commit to attending all sessions to earn a spot in the class. Class participants will have the opportunity to apply what they learn by participating in the MIT Science Policy Initiative (SPI) Congressional Visit Days in Washington, D.C. in March 2018.

Enrollment is limited, and interested students must complete the previously mentioned application. Priority will be given to those enrolled in the STP certificate.

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Dec
8
8:00 PM20:00

International Policy Lab Call for Proposals Deadline (8pm)

Read more here


From the IPL Call for Proposals: 

"Purpose of awards: The International Policy Lab (IPL) works as a service to MIT researchers who seek to build relationships with the policy community and engage with policy makers. The IPL does not support new scholarly research but rather the translation of faculty members’ existing research into policy-relevant material and related outreach. Specifically, it offers guidance to faculty members on how to influence the policy community, connects faculty members directly with policy-makers, provides policy services and modest funding for translation and outreach, and coordinates faculty members’ travel to Washington, DC and elsewhere. The goal of these activities is to maximize the impact of faculty members’ efforts to inform public policy while minimizing the time they must invest in such efforts. 

Deadline:  December 8, 2017, 8PM EST.

Eligibility: All MIT faculty members and research scientists with PI status.

Support: Applicants may request staff support, funding, or both.

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Dec
4
6:00 PM18:00

December Monthly Meeting: "Building Resilience: Early-Warning Systems & Disaster Preparedness"

Building Resilience: Early-Warning Systems & Disaster Preparedness

Monday, December 4, 2017

6:00–7:30 pm

Room: 66-144

Dinner provided for attendees!

 

Discussion Leads:

Lily Bui, MIT DUSP PhD Student, Civic Data Design Lab and Urban Risk Lab

Michael Windle, Center for Transportation and Logistics, Humanitarian Response Lab

We have all experienced disasters in some shape or form, and have certainly heard about their potentially destructive consequences on a community's social fabric, economy, and environment. Ranging from climate events (e.g. floods, hurricanes), earthquakes, infectious disease epidemics, and chemical spills - there exists a broad range of risk factors and hazards. Challenges arise in the assessment, communication, and management of risks - with uncertainties as to the best intervention, tradeoffs between short-and-long term priorities, and pressure from the need for a rapid, coordinated response. Designing tools to aid in the prevention, mitigation, reduction, and response to risks depends heavily on the type of risk, stakeholders involved, and context. 

This raises important science-policy and governance questions, with great societal implications. Furthermore, there are questions as to the best technological and institutional innovations aimed at reducing risks, responding to disasters, and build-back after catastrophes in ways that promote future resilience. This continues to be a relevant discussion, especially with the exacerbating effects of global climate change, as we are often reminded by the increasing frequency and magnitude of disasters.

Additional background reading:

Emergency and Disaster Information Service -  real-time mapping of emergency situations and their prevention from the Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress-Signalling and Infocommunications (RSOE)- link

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) - link

Using Science for Disaster Risk Reduction (case studies) - link

The Role of Knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction - link

7 things science teaches us about disaster risk reduction - link

A Global Outlook on Disaster Science - link

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Nov
6
6:00 PM18:00

MIT SPI: November Monthly Meeting, Science for Peace and Diplomacy

Science for Peace and Diplomacy

Monday, November 6, 2017

6:00–7:30 pm

Room: 66-144

Dinner provided for attendees!

Discussion Leads:

Ronit Prawer, East Coast Director of the UK Science & Innovation Network, British Consulate-General

Professor Jonathan King (MIT) on the topic of "Investing in Minds Not Missiles"

 

Driven by rapid sociopolitical, environmental, and economic shifts - the future is increasingly uncertain and change is needed. Science has a unique role to play in promoting peace, prosperity, development, and multilateral diplomacy. While this is challenged by the "post-fact" era and with an increasingly nationalist political climate, science has the potential to overcome geographic and institutional barriers to address issues that affect us all (e.g. climate change, etc.). This discussion will serve to think critically about the role of science for peace and diplomacy, as well as share ways to overcome current obstacles.

 

The event coincides with World Science Day for Peace and Development (November 10th), an internationally celebrated day to highlight the importance of science in and for society and that science, peace and development are interlinked.

 

The objectives of World Science Day for Peace and Development are to:

  • Strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies;
  • Promote national and international solidarity for shared science between countries;
  • Renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societies;
  • Draw attention to the challenges faced by science and raising support for the scientific endeavor.

Additional background reading:

Science & Technology Advice to Foreign Ministries: Challenges in the Middle East - link

CERN: 60 years of science for peace and development - link

Science, a weapon for peace - link

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Oct
30
5:00 PM17:00

MIT SPI: Transportation Research Panel

For the first time, the MIT Science Policy Initiative (SPI) is hosting a non-faculty researcher panel event on October 30th from 5pm-7pm in 2-190. The topic of the panel is the future of transportation. Dinner will be provided. Panelists include:

  • Hillary Abraham, a research associate at the MIT AgeLab who studies how drivers interact with and come to trust (or not trust) driver assistance systems.
  • Zach Needell, a graduate student in the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Transportation at MIT, who researches in the Trancik Lab how infrastructure influences the transportation decisions individuals make as well as the cumulative effect of those individual decisions.
  • Parker Vascik, a doctoral student in aeronautics and astronautics who studies the technological, regulatory, and economic feasibility of urban aerial transportation.
  • Wei Wei, graduate student in the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Transportation at MIT, who researches in the Trancik Lab the impact of transportation choices on energy consumption and emissions.
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Oct
2
6:00 PM18:00

Urbanization, "Smart" Cities, & Inclusivity

Join for our October monthly discussion! 

Urbanization, "Smart" Cities, & Inclusivity

Monday, October 2, 2017, 6:00–7:30 pm

Room: 66-144

Dinner provided for attendees!

Today, more than half of the global population lives in cities, with projections to reach more 66% by 2050. Despite only covering 2% of total land, they account for 70% of the economy (GDP), over 60% of global energy consumption, 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, and 70% of global waste. The increasing concentration of people, economy, and knowledge in cities is shaping the urban landscape that surrounds us and people’s quality of life like never before. For example, the data revolution and ICTs have made the flow of information increasingly fast, communication instant, and global trade easier. Additionally, technological change is reshaping health care, access to basic services, housing, transportation, job opportunities, education, and other sectors of both the economy and society. The scaffold within which cities have grown is also influencing the natural environment, leading to systemic issues such as climate change and resource depletion. This discussion will be centered around the applications of science, technology and innovation policy to address increasing pressures of equity within cities, systems of innovation, and promoting integrated territorial development to reduce disparities between-and-within urban-and-rural areas.

 

Additional background reading:

After Quito, the path forward for the New Urban Agenda - link

Smart cities must be people-centered, equitable cities - link

Science for Sustainable Rural-urban Regions - link

The New Urban Agenda: key opportunities and challenges for policy and practice - link

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May
3
4:30 PM16:30

The Future of Manufacturing, the Workforce, and Society: Panel Discussion

Location: 34-101, reception to follow in Stata R&D Pub

Please join us for a panel discussion on the future of the American workforce, with a focus on advanced manufacturing, workforce education solutions, and social disruption due to technological innovation. Panelists will include:

·       Suzanne Berger, Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science

·       Amy Glasmeier, Professor of Economic Geography and Regional Planning

·       Elisabeth Reynolds, Executive Director, MIT Industrial Performance Center

·       Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning

The panel will be followed by a reception to encourage additional discussion and networking (please bring 21+ ID). Co-hosted by the MIT Science Policy Initiative and the Graduate Student Council External Affairs Board.

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May
1
6:00 PM18:00

May Monthly Meeting

Billionaire-Backed Science

Monday, May 1, 2017

6:00–7:30 pm

56-180

Dinner provided for attendees!

 

A handful of extremely wealthy individuals with a philanthropic bent are turning their attention to research and development. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, will funnel $3 billion over 10 years towards biomedical research through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. John Arnold, a hedge-fund manager, wants to address efforts that have struggled to attract funding from traditional sources, such as reproducibility studies. Others are taking on their own risky ventures – Jeff Bezos will invest $1 billion per year into his own rocket company.

Will billionaire-backed science bring to life important projects that have been neglected by both government grants and industry funding? Will these investors – many of them with no formal training in the sciences they seek to support – conduct proper due diligence? Finally, will their interest be sustained enough to make meaningful impacts on any field? Join us to discuss these questions and more!

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Apr
3
6:00 PM18:00

April Monthly Meeting

Global Access to Medicines and International Science Policy Challenges

with Donovan Guttieres and Aashish Khullar (UN Major Group for Children and Youth)

Monday, April 3, 2017

6:00–7:30 pm

56-180

Dinner provided for attendees!

Price hikes in the pharmaceutical industry have recently been the target of heavy criticism in the US. However, expensive drugs in developing countries have long constituted a major public health issue, compounded by complex intellectual property regulations and concerns over safety.

We will be joined by Donovan Guttieres (TPP '18; Coordinator, UN MGCY) and Aashish Khullar (Organizing Partner, UN MGCY; Economy Futures Group of MIT and Harvard). They will share their experiences working on global access to medicines and other international issues with major science policy components. Join us as we discuss challenges for evidence-based policymaking in an international context, as well as ways young practitioners can engage in science policy discussions at the global level and upcoming opportunities.

In addition, we're looking for people interested in getting involved in SPI leadership next year! The current exec board will be speaking about our positions at the meeting, and we will be opening up nominations soon afterwards. Feel free to reach out to any of us with questions and stay tuned for more information.

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Mar
16
5:30 PM17:30

Boston-Cambridge Science Policy Happy Hour

This event is organized by the group Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy (ESEP). ESEP's happy hours are informal networking and engagement opportunities for professionals, students, academics, and enthusiasts - at all career levels - who share an interest in science policy and communication. Come have a drink and meet members of ESEP! 

To join the mailing list to receive Boston happy hour notices, see their webpage: http://science-engage.org/happyhoursboston.html

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Mar
13
6:00 PM18:00

March Monthly Meeting

Discussion: Advocating for Science in the Age of Trump

56-180

Dinner provided for attendees!

Many US scientists, spurred by what they see as "anti-science" remarks and appointments from the Trump administration, are taking political action. At the same time, others worry that further politicization of science will be detrimental. How can we help maintain broad support for science and science-based policymaking? We will talk about initiatives such as the upcoming March for Science (promoted as a nonpartisan event) and groups like 314 Action (which will support only Democrat scientists running for political office). Bring your thoughts, concerns, questions, and an open mind for discussion!

 

Additional reading:

Researchers should reach beyond the science bubble (Nature editorial)

How to declare war on coal's emissions without declaring war on coal communities (Maria Zuber, MIT VP for Research writing in the Washington Post)

Looking Back at Canada's Political Fight Over Science (The Atlantic)

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Feb
19
9:00 AM09:00

AAAS Conference Event: Opportunities in Science Policy, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships

This workshop explores opportunities for scientists and engineers to apply their training to national and international initiatives, contribute to the policymaking process, and identify transferable skills for a successful career in science policy. Attendees will delve into opportunities to contribute scientific and technological innovation and leadership and help design and execute solutions to address societal challenges, and discuss the rewards of broad science engagement. The workshop underscores the influence of science and innovation on the policymaking process and the impacts of policymaking on the scientific enterprise while providing strategies and resources to learn and engage in policy across career stages. More information is available online here: https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2017/webprogram/Session15488.html

Location: Room 207 (Hynes Convention Center)

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Feb
17
3:00 PM15:00

AAAS Conference Event: MIT SPI Panel: How Early Career Scientists Can Serve Science Through Policy

This panel for the AAAS Conference has been organized by MIT SPI. Panelists include Noelle Selin (Professor, MIT), John Gavenonis (Manager, DuPont R&D) and Paula Garcia (Energy Analyst, UCS).

Location: Room 207, Hynes Convention Center

Submit your questions here: https://goo.gl/forms/sYU0dEPGsAVGnz9t1

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Feb
16
1:00 PM13:00

AAAS Conference Event: Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Townhall

Join other scientists, engineers, and students for a town hall-style meeting with the organizers of the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting sessions related to policy and communication, to help connect the different sessions to one another. ESEP, an ad-hoc coalition of organizations, aims to empower scientists and engineers to effectively engage in the policymaking process at all levels of government. More information is available online at https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2017/webprogram/Session16268.html

Location: Ballroom A (Hynes Convention Center)

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Feb
15
1:00 PM13:00

AAAS Conference Event: Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering Workshop

This entry-level workshop is for upper-class undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in learning about the role of science in policymaking. The workshop will introduce the U.S. federal policymaking process and empower students with ways to become a voice for basic research throughout their careers. Pre-registration required.

More information and registration are available here: https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2017/webprogram/Session16150.html

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Feb
13
6:00 PM18:00

February Monthly Meeting

Discussion: The Future of Nuclear Energy in the U.S.

with Daniel Curtis, PhD candidate in Nuclear Science and Engineering, chair of the GSC External Affairs Board

Monday, February 13, 2017

6:00–7:30 pm

56-180

Dinner provided for attendees!

Nuclear reactors are the largest source of zero-emissions power in the U.S., but concerns about safety and cost continue to fuel detractors. What will the future of nuclear energy look like in the U.S.? Will the Trump administration, which has shown interest in aiding nuclear power, bode well for the nuclear industry (despite skepticism regarding climate change)? In the longer term, what is the outlook on new plants and new technologies? How should spending be prioritized between subsidizing nuclear and renewables?

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Jan
23
to Jan 27

Science Policy Bootcamp

Science and technology public policy shapes the education, research, and innovation system that is vital for economic growth and improvements in societal well-being. This five-day seminar, taught by MIT Washington, D.C. Office Director Bill Bonvillian, will examine the policy decisions behind, and the government’s role in the science and technology based innovation system. Given the challenges to future federal science support, this seminar will also aim to equip those planning careers in and around science and technology with the basic background for involvement in science policy-making. Undergraduate and graduate students from all faculties are welcome. Learn more about this opportunity here.

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Dec
12
6:00 PM18:00

December Monthly Meeting

Discussion: Social, Ethical, and Regulatory Obstacles Facing Self-Driving Cars

with Edmond Awad, MIT Media Lab

6:00–7:30 pm

56-162

Free dinner and drinks provided!

 

Proponents of self-driving cars, such as President Obama, assure us they will be safer and more efficient than today's cars. However, many questions still remain regarding their widespread adoption. Imagine a scenario where the only way a car can avoid running over a group of pedestrians is to swerve into a wall. Sacrificing itself and its passenger may be safer in terms of fewer lives lost, but would you buy such a vehicle? Research from MIT shows that most people would not. Should the algorithms behind such decisions be regulated, and if so, on what basis? If self-driving cars are safer than human drivers, should manual driving be outlawed? We will be joined by Edmond Awad, a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab, to discuss these questions and more.

 

Additional resources:

Moral Machine - interactive website where you get to decide what the self-driving car should do.

Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government (New York Times)

What to Know Before You Get in a Self-Driving Car (MIT Technology Review)

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