Science and Policy Seminar Series and Summer Workshop



A project of the Global Agricultural Science and Policy Initiative,

through an endowment to the ISU Agronomy Department



The influence of scientists on public policy, by some accounts, has been declining for the last 30 years.  Although science and technology significantly shape the organization and development of society, most scientists are not directly involved in policy making and many have little or no input and sometimes limited familiarity with the changing realities of the policy realm.  This project aims to help ISU faculty, staff and graduate students more effectively fulfill the land-grant mission by increasing their understanding of how policies and regulations are established, encouraging and expanding communications and collaborations between natural and social scientists, and enhancing the capacity for engaged citizenship on the part of the ISU community.


The project has two phases.  The first is a "Science & Policy Seminar Series" (Spring 2003-Spring 2004) for faculty, staff and students, in which noted scholars and practitioners from a variety of disciplines speak on the productive intersections and potential tensions they have observed between science and policy in their fields of interest.  Topics in the series thus far have included HACCP regulations, hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, bioterrorism research and policy, and obesity policy and intervention.


The second phase, building on the first, will be a three-day workshop for approximately 25 faculty/senior scientists and 15 graduate students, to be held mid-May 2004.  The workshop will provide an in-depth exploration of the rationale for and approaches to more effective connections between science and policy.  Five to six national speakers will be brought in and the format will include both in-depth case studies and the development of practical skills (e.g. oral communication, policy brief writing).  Drawing on policies and regulations relevant to agriculture at the state and federal level, the workshop will help participants to understand better the potential role of science and scientists in establishing policies and regulations, as well as the societal consequences, both intended and unintended, of many policies and regulations.


Participating departments in the Science and Policy Seminar Series Project and Summer Workshop include Agronomy, Economics, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Plant Pathology, Political Science, Sociology and the Office of Biotechnology.


Contact: Dr. Clare Hinrichs, Dept. of Sociology, 515-294-5154,

Path to the Future
Iowa State University Agronomy Department
Copyright © 2004