Random Thoughts from Debbie

Hi Deborah,

 Although most of you are familiar with my teaching activities, another aspect of the Science & Technology Policy Academy are our "done for you" services where I actually apply all that I teach to real world situations. I think you'll find these interesting from a student perspective (as in how can you make a living doing policy analysis) and an institutional perspective (we need our professional staff to enhance their communication to policymakers and the public).

For example, I've consulted for West Virginia University's Bridge Initiative for Science and Technology Policy, Leadership, and Communications both as a study director and working individually with faculty who want to communicate the results of their work to policymakers and the public, which is called the Bridge Faculty Fellows program.

I'm particularly fond of their most recent study on Carbon Dioxide Removal and West Virginia: A Science and Technology Perspective, for which I acted as study director.  The WVU faculty did a marvelous job of producing original analysis related to the 4E's that I teach: effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and ease of political acceptability.  In addition, stakeholder input through roundtables was a key component in vetting the identified policy options and prioritizing which would become final recommendations. You'll also find on the webpage policy briefs and an explainer developed by myself and the Bridge program's postdoc.  Take a look! I think you'll find it interesting and a useful example for your own S&T policy work. 

Another interesting project I did this academic year was to develop online curriculum for Penn State University. The goal of the LEAP (Leadership, Entrepreneurship, AI, and Policy) microcredential, funded by the New America Public Interest Technology (PIT) - University Network (PIT-UN)  is to promote an understanding of publicly available data and how it can be accessed and used by communities and non-profit organizations how to implement AI solutions for public interest, inform policymaking, and give a voice to communities. As you probably guessed, my portion was focused on policy --  teaching NPOs how to identify public interest questions where analysis of publicly available data can inform public policymaking, identify and analyze data, and then communicating the resulting findings, conclusions, and recommendations to policymakers. 

Other PIT-UN funded programs where I participates was providing a multi-day orientation to a pilot Ohio State University summer science & technology policy fellowship program and a workshop on science & technology policy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Want to see if your institution is part of the network, and if so, what they are doing?  Go here to see a map and then go below to click on your institution's grantees if your university is listed.

What's coming up next?  This summer, I'll be writing a series of "science and technology notes" on regulatory sandboxes with a focus on abandoned mine lands for West Virginia University through a Build Back Better grantA regulatory sandbox is “a means of providing a dynamic, evidence-based regulatory environment to test emerging technologies." (World Bank, 2020) It's a relatively new and interesting idea with a number of pro's and con's. There are also alternatives with the same goals, so it will be interesting to survey the landscape.  I taught classes on this general topic of policies supporting emerging technologies when I was at Carnegie Mellon University.  You can watch a video on these non-market factors on the Academy's Youtube channel

I'm also in the midst of conducting a program evaluation of workforce development activities funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission to support manufacturing employment in the Southwest Pennsylvania region for Catalyst Connection, part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.  This includes a survey and interviews with small manufacturers throughout the region.  A long-term challenge is connecting the unemployed and underemployed with available jobs in the new manufacturing environment -- quite different from that in the past.

Hope you found these examples useful in thinking about your own S&T policy activities and needs. If you're interested in our "Done for You" services, you can click here to schedule a free discovery call to see if we can help. 

Upcoming "Live" Classes

Beginning in April, I will be teaching all of the S&T Policy Academy's core classes as part of the NIH/FAES Public Policy Series Workshops.  This is the only location where I teach full versions of these classes live via Zoom, so they can be taken by anyone worldwide.  So if you're ready to go beyond the 1.5 hour webinar, this is the place to be! Another benefit is receiving badges and certificates upon completion of each (or all in the series) from FAES.  In August, I will be teaching a new NIH/FAES class on Equity Analysis and Science and Technology Policy. These classes are not free, but you can often use professional development funds to pay your tuition. A bundle deal is available on your training rates if you register before April 10, 2023.

Here's the full list:

PPOL 071 | The Role of the White House, Congress, Federal Agencies, and Judiciary in Science & Technology Policy
 Apr 17, 2023 to Apr 18, 2023 Mon, Tue 10:00AM - 4:00PM

PPOL 072 | Public Policy Analysis for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals: A Systematic Process for Analyzing and Developing Policy Options to Respond to Societal Challenges May 15, 2023 to May 16, 2023 Mon, Tue 10:00AM - 4:00PM

PPOL 073 | Public Policy Analytical Methods for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals: Understanding and Evaluating Benefit-cost, Cost-effectiveness, and Risk Analysis Jun 12, 2023 to Jun 13, 2023 Jun 12, 2023 to Jun 13, 2023 Mon, Tue 10:00AM - 4:00PM

PPOL 074 | Program Evaluation for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals Jul 17, 2023 to Jul 18, 2023 Mon, Tue 10:00AM - 4:00PM

PPOL 075 Equity Analysis and Science and Technology Policy Aug 28, 2023 to Aug 29, 2023 Mon, Tue 10:00AM - 4:00PM

For Innovate (US), I'll teach "Assessing the Impact: Evaluation of Public Programs" on June 22 at 2 pm eastern  InnovateUS provides no-cost, at-your-own pace, and live learning on data, digital and innovation skills for public servants with a particular focus on those at the state and local level.  I've now attended several of their webinars with experts from around the world and find them quite interesting. You can register for free at this link  for mine, but you may find others of interest.  

Interested in hosting your own S&T Policy event?  Happy to help!  Click here to set up a day/time for a free discovery call.

Cool Resources 

Want to better understand how local government works in your town?  Check out this "Civics 101" page from Engineers and Scientists Acting Locally (ESAL).  Volunteering here is a great place to learn while at the same time enhancing your S&T policy portfolio and make a difference in your own town.

Did You Know?

I'm working on a new class focused on using AI tools like Chat GPT to improve your efficiency in conducting policy analysis and program evaluations.  Here's a useful tip.  Chat GPT doesn't provide its information sources, but you can ask it after it generates an answer.  Use the prompt "What is the DOI for the previous statement" and it will provide you with the reference (if any) for that material.  Occasionally, it will even say it made a mistake! In case you don't know, DOI is the reference given worldwide to peer reviewed journal papers.  If you have any questions, thoughts, or tips about this forthcoming class, please let me know at deborah@scitechpolicyacademy.com. Follow the Academy on Twitter to get more tips like these.

More Ways to Learn and Grow

The S&T Policy Academy has a number of ways for you to learn and grow:

    • ON DEMAND CLASSES FOR INDIVIDUALS:  Affordable classes that you can do at your own pace anywhere.  If you are a member of the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), you can get half off and apply for professional development funds that are enough to pay your entire tuition.  For each class you complete, you receive a digital badge.  Complete all four and you receive a certificate. To get more information or sign up, go to this webpage.  You can also register for the new class, Equity Analysis for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals. This class is still in the pilot phase so sign up now while prices are low.
    • WORKSHOPS FOR ACADEMIC AND STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS, GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, & NON-PROFITS:  Workshops can cover any science & technology policy topic of interest to the sponsoring organization for any timeframe.  Now is the time to sign up for these before my schedule fills up.  I now have workshops booked through August.  A 1.5-hour interactive virtual workshop is only $297. Schedule a no-cost no obligation consultation on my calendar if you’re interested so we can work together to identify what will work best for your group.  You can see more information and examples of past topics on this page.
    • PREMIERE EXECUTIVE COACHING FOR INDIVIDUALS OR SMALL TEAMS:  Premiere executive coaching is for individuals, groups of professionals, or Ph.D. candidates or postdocs who are interested in implementing science & technology policy analysis principles for a specific project, program, initiative, research paper, or dissertation. With coaching, you can learn life-long skills and at the same time reach your organization’s policy or communication goals. If you’re interested, please schedule a free consultation on my calendar to see if premiere executive coaching is a “right fit” for you. More information and frequently asked questions are on this page.
    • DONE FOR YOU SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY POLICY ANALYSIS, PROGRAM EVALUATION, & COMMUNICATION:  If time and staff are limited, and you are a non-profit or academic organization, industry, or business who wants to get a message out to the policymakers, then the Science & Technology Policy Academy can work with your team to get that project done. We can gather both existing and new information via surveys, interviews, focus groups, or roundtable discussions with experts or stakeholders.  We can then produce communication products such as policymaker guides, policy briefs, case studies, videos, and infographics.  Want to chat further to see if we’re a good fit for each other?  Then please schedule a free consultation on my calendar.  More information is and examples of past work is available on this page.

That's it for this month.  Just hit reply to let me know your thoughts, how you’re doing, any questions you might have, and your feedback on any and all of this communication. I'm particularly interested in hearing if you received a fellowship, job, or other opportunity.  Sharing your story can help inspire others who are on the same path you were a few years ago. 

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Thanks for reading!

Dr. Deborah D. Stine, Founder, Science & Technology Policy Academy


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Deborah Stine
Science & Technology Policy Academy