The federal government's huge investment in science and technology is giving rise to new research that evaluates the impact of nationally-funded R&D programs. Two Georgia Tech public policy professors are leading researchers in the field and presented this month at a White House conference on the subject.
In September, U.S. House of Representatives Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman, Daniel Lipinski said, "Given the magnitude of the federal investment in science and technology, there is a need for objective analysis and evaluation of federally funded R&D programs. And given the size of the budget deficit, Congressional decision makers need the best information possible to make sure we are spending taxpayer dollars optimally."
Lipinski's remarks highlighted the science of science policy (SoSP), an emerging field of interdisciplinary research that is promoted by the White House Office of Science and Technology's SoSP initiative and receives funding from the National Science Foundation. Associate Dean of Research and Public Policy Professor Susan Cozzens, and Professor and Chair of the School of Public Policy Diana Hicks are leading researchers in the field, which is providing a scientifically rigorous basis from which policy makers and researchers can assess the impacts of the nation's scientific and engineering enterprise, improve their understanding of its dynamics, and assess likely outcomes.
Cozzens and Hicks were invited presenters at the White House Office of Science and Technology’s (OSTP) Workshop on the Science of Science Measurement December 2-3, which included researchers from Harvard, MIT Sloan School of Management, and the University of Michigan. The workshop was sponsored by the OSTP’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), a Cabinet-level Council chaired by President Obama that is charged with establishing “clear national goals for Federal science and technology investments in a broad array of areas that span virtually all the mission areas of the executive branch.” Its scientific committee included members of key federal policy and research funding groups including National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Health, Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, BEA, and the Department of Education.
Cozzens and Michele Snoeck (Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay) presented "Knowledge to Policy: Contributing to the Measurement of Social, Health, and Environmental Benefits ". Hicks presented "Systemic data infrastructure for innovation policy " during the segment focused on Technology Development and Deployment.
The workshop was intended to “create a dialogue between the Federal science and technology (S&T) agencies and the research community about relevant models, tools, and data that advance scientific measurement in key areas of national S&T interest: economic benefits; social, health and environmental benefits; S&T workforce development; and technology development and deployment. Secondly, the workshop was to identify a joint Science of Science Policy research agenda for the Federal S&T agencies and the research community.
Read more about the workshop and watch videos at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/sosp/