Labcoats
Knowledge, Expertise & Policy

In the contemporary world, scientific, technological and other kinds of expertise are increasingly central to policy making (over climate change, synthetic biology, macroeconomic policy, ‘big data’, and robotics/artificial intelligence, for example).

This course aims to understand how experts relate to political power and policy-making in today’s societies. It bridges political science, social policy and STS (science & technology studies) by using case studies to investigate how science, expertise and policy are linked (or fail to connect) in such areas as climate policy, life-science innovations, and migration.

The course also considers the growth of public participation in technical / technological decision making over the last twenty years, and examines the character of ‘ethical’ expertise in areas where public policy and moral concerns overlap (for example, in areas of animal research).

The course will be organised in blocks:

  1. Expertise in contemporary society: this will focus on the nature of expertise and on ‘science for policy’ (how research feeds into policy making).
  2. The character of public controversies over scientific and technical topics (with case studies such as BSE and climate change)
  3. Public participation in science and technology and the civic dimensions of scientific citizenship. This will also encompass normative aspects relating to democratic theory.
  4. The globalisation of science and technology governance, looking at regulation, harmonisation, the WTO and other international scientific bodies (such as IPBES).

    You can also have a look at this video about KEP: https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/t/1_xtziy6pj

This is a level 10 course with 20 credits.

Course organiser: Dr Eugénia Rodrigues

Course secretary: Alex Dysart

Semester: 1

More information: Knowledge, Expertise and Policy (STIS10010)