In the absence of a science policy textbook, I would like to ask the scholars of science policy to forgive me for doing an online search for its definition. In fact, I invite them to comment to this post with a more scholarly definition.
In the meantime I have found the following definitions of science policy online. According to wikipedia:
Science policy is an area of public policy concerned with the policies that affect the conduct of the science and research enterprise, including the funding of science, often in pursuance of other national policy goals such as technological innovation to promote commercial product development, weapons development, health care and environmental monitoring [SENSE 1]. Science policy also refers to the act of applying scientific knowledge and consensus to the development of public policies [SENSE 2].
A Royal Society of Chemistry report defines it as:
Science policy is quite a broad term, encompassing not only areas in which science can help achieve policy goals [SENSE 2], but also areas in which policy itself influences science, for instance funding [SENSE 1].
The Canadian encyclopedia defines it as:
Science policy is a term which came into use in the 1960s to denote the co-ordinated measures that should be taken by governments to promote the development of scientific and technological research and, especially, to guide the exploitation of research results to further national economic growth and welfare [SENSE 1].
You must have noticed that I have marked in blue two senses of science policy. The first sense, annotated [SENSE 1] above, has to do with policies the government makes in order to shape the research environment with the ultimate goal of enhancing societal wellbeing. This sense is best defined above by the Canadian encyclopedia. This sense of course has partly to do with policies related to science funding, so in a way this is the sense for which the Science Is Vital campaign is mostly fighting for.
UPDATE: it was suggested to me on twitter by the very knowledgable
@jameswilsdon that this “policy for science” is now called Innovation Policy and @stianwestlake that it is called Science or Innovation Policy. I am wondering if Innovation Policy could refer to the policies taken in applied science, since I would think that most people working in basic science policy would not identify themselves as innovation policy makers.
The second sense, annotated [SENSE 2], has to do with using scientific advice is all areas of public policy. There is an increase in popularity of this second idea is certain countries, especially english-speaking countries, in order to promote evidence-based policy making. In fact, even the European Commission now has a Chief Scientific Advisor that reports directly to the President. I should note here that even though both of these senses are touched upon in the Geek Manifesto, the fighting for this latter sense was in my opinion the added value of this book.
UPDATE: it was suggested to me on twitter by
@stianwestlake that could be called “science advise for policy”.
So my question is this: why when discussing a career in Science Policy, most people are referring only to the second sense?
Here is a list of articles that I have found on the subject:
- [11/1998] “How to get a job in science policy” in Times Higher Education.
- [2/2003] “Paths to Science Policy” by James Austin and “Science Policy: Establishing Guidelines, Setting Priorities” by Laure Haak in Science.
- [3/2003] “Making the move into science policy” by Virginia Gewin in Nature.
- [10/2009] “Finding Your Way Into Policy Careers in Europe” by Elisabeth Pain in Science.
- “Getting Started With Science Policy” by Wendy Perkins on biocareers.
- “A Career in Science Policy: Communicating Science to Policy-Makers and Policy to Scientists” by Heather Rieff, Ph.D. on the Science Advisory Board website.
- Some reflections of what is a “science policy” job in the “This Might Be Science” blog.
- A presentation by Melanie Roberts, Ph.D. (AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow) [06/2008]
- Some clues for a career in Science policy by ASBMB Policy Fellow Geoffrey Hunt.
- A presentation given in March 2013 at Imperial College London by Ross Mounce.
And here is a list of science policy job directories:
- UK: Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) “Policy Jobs” http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/?page_id=5833
- USA: Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “Links to pages with Science and Technology Policy jobs, internships, fellowships, etc.” http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/students/jobs.html
- INTERNATIONAL: Science Policy career resources in Science careers.
All these links – articles and directories alike – refer to the second sense.
But what about the equally important first sense? What about the shaping of National Innovation Systems? What about this kind of a career?