Who We Are, What We Do
The Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) was initiated within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the summer of 2001 and was recognized as an official University center in the summer of 2002 as a contribution both to the CIRES goal of “promoting science in service to society” and to the University’s vision of establishing research and outreach across traditional academic boundaries.
CSTPR seeks to improve how science and technology policies address societal needs, through research, education and service.
The Center is a response to an increase in problem-focused research at the interfaces of environment, technology, and policy, and to the growing demand by public and private decision makers for “usable” scientific information. Our work is often aimed at understanding the choices that people and institutions make in pursuing goals under uncertainty, be it an uncertain future climate, uncertain outcomes of investments in science and technology, or the uncertain outcomes of a particular environmental policy. One of our goals is enlarging the range of choice considered by policy-makers, by analyzing options in areas such as energy technology, carbon management, science investments, and public lands and ecosystems management.
By linking integrative science with the needs of decision makers, science and technology policy research can serve a valuable role in helping the research community better focus its efforts on issues of importance to society, and decision makers can more effectively incorporate scientific and technological advances into their decision processes.
Examples of Center Activities (please see our annual report for most recent activities)
(for more information about current Center research projects visit our Projects page)
Carbon Management on Public Lands in the Intermountain West
Lisa Dilling is collaborating on a USDA-funded project with colleagues to understand the decision process on public lands in southwest Colorado and how carbon information might be incorporated into decision making. Under new requirements, U.S. National Forests are required to evaluate their carbon stocks and potential for management in the future for an agency-wide ‘Performance Scorecard.’
Improved Cookstove Research in Northern Ghana
Nearly 3 billion people cook over open flames on a daily basis. This behavior impacts local and regional air quality, global climate, and human health. With colleagues in CU’s Engineering and Applied Math departments, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, North Carolina State University, and the Navrongo Health Research Center in Ghana, Katie Dickinson is investigating how cooking behaviors and the adoption of cleaner stoves influence environmental and health outcomes.
Inside the Greenhouse
Max Boykoff, Rebecca Safran (Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) and Beth Osnes (Associate Professor, Department of Theater and Dance) at the University of Colorado Boulder are working to deepen our understanding of how issues associated with climate change are/can be communicated, by creating artifacts through interactive theatre, film, fine art, performance art, television programming, and appraising as well as extracting effective methods for multimodal climate communication.
Interactions of Drought and Climate Adaptation for Urban Water
Led by Lisa Dilling, this NOAA Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP) project is examining how drought policies interact with both short-term drought and long-term climate change, asking whether adjustment today or in the past leads to more resilient systems across climate time scales.
Knowledge, Power and the Coproduction of Climate Information for Adaptation to Climate Change in Tanzania
Lisa Dilling, Meaghan Daly, Mara Goldman and Eric Lovell are conducting a project that aims to improve understanding of processes to effectively link climate information and adaptation at national and local scales in Tanzania. The approach is to explicitly recognize and examine the ways in which the varying epistemological traditions and relations of power among vulnerable communities, disaster management professionals, and climate experts influence the perceived value of climate information for improved early warning and climate adaptation.
Media Coverage of Climate Change
Over the past decade, Max Boykoff has published many peer-reviewed papers and book chapters addressing this subject. Also, with colleague Maria Mansfield (University of Oxford) and then beginning in 2013 with colleagues Ami Nacu-Schmidt, Lucy McAllister, Kevin Andrews, , Gesa Ludecke, Lauren Gifford and Meaghan Daly, Max developed methods to monitor media coverage of climate change at the international and various national scales.
Playing With Fire: Social Interactions and Homeowners’ Wildfire Mitigation Behaviors
Working with Hannah Brenkert-Smith (CU-IBS) and Nicholas Flores (CU-IBS/ECON), Katie Dickison conducted choice experiments in a web-based survey of homeowners living in fire-prone areas of Colorado’s Western Slope to measure the effects of risk interdependency, social norms, and costs on risk reduction decisions. By combining experimental and observational approaches, this body of research seeks to deepen our understanding of the role(s) of social interactions in shaping risk-related decisions, and the ways in which policies and programs can harness the power of these social effects to encourage homeowners to take action.
Social and Economic Aspects of Vector-Borne Disease
Vector-borne diseases impose wide-ranging costs on human societies. Human behaviors and decision-making at various scales influence the transmission and impacts of these diseases. As part of Katie Dickinson’s dissertation research, she examined determinants of malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment behaviors in Tanzania. Specifically, she examined how these behaviors varied with socioeconomic status, and also looked at knowledge and behaviors around environmental management for malaria control.
Understanding the Drivers of Adaptation at the Municipal Level in CO, WY and UT
Lisa Dilling is co-leading this WWA-funded project to investigate why some local decision makers choose to adapt to climate-related stress and risk while others do not. The project is systematically investigating the conditions under which local decision-makers in cities and large towns in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming decide to adapt (or not) to increased climate-related risk and hazards.
(for more information about Center outreach activities visit our Outreach page)
Center Book Releases
Center faculty have authored several popular books including Successful Adaptation to Climate Change: Linking Science and Policy in a Rapidly Changing World, a book edited by Max Boykoff and Susanne Moser, which was selected as Choice Review’s Outstanding Academic Title.
Center Sponsored Talks
The Center sponsors talks by recognized science policy experts. Examples include a year-long lecture series, Policy, Politics and Science in the White House: Conversations with Presidential Science Advisors that brought science advisors to Presidents Bush Jr., Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, and Johnson to campus to speak about science policy at the highest level of government. The Center also brought President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, to Boulder to provide the keynote address for our 10th anniversary celebration.
Center in the News
Center staff have been quoted in numerous media sources including Nature, the L.A. Times, the New York Times, and The Economist. Center op-eds have appeared in publications such as Issues in Science and Technology, Space News, Science, and Nature.
(for more information about Center education activities visit our Students page)
The Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Policy
The Center's Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Science and Technology Policy was initiated in 2004 and continues to draw graduate students from a diverse set of disciplines at the University of Colorado.
AAAS "Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering" Workshop Student Competition
For the third year CSTPR organized a competition to select two University of Colorado Boulder students to attend the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop in April. Students attending the three-and-a-half day program in Washington, DC, learn about the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations processes, and tools for effective science communication and civic engagement. In addition, students participate in interactive seminars about policy-making and communication. The day after the workshop, students will form teams and conduct meetings with their elected Members of Congress and congressional staff members, putting into practice what they have learned. The competition is supported by the University of Colorado Graduate School and Center for STEM Learning.
Inside the Greenhouse: Utilizing Media to Communicate Positive Solutions for Climate Change
Max Boykoff (with Beth Osnes from the CU Theatre and Dance department) designed and taught an Environmental Studies course, intending to “deepen our understanding of how issues associated with climate change are/can be communicated, by analyzing previously created expressions from a variety of media (interactive theatre, film, fine art, performance art, television programming, blogs for examples) and then by creating our own work.”
CU Education Options in Science and Technology
Center staff teach courses including The Problem Orientation; Science and Technology Policy; Science and the Environment; Culture, Politics and Climate Change; Natural Hazards; and Environment and Culture.
Where is the Center located?
We are housed at the north edge of the University of Colorado campus, at 1333 Grandview Avenue. For directions, click here.
How do I find out about Center activities?
Our homepage includes announcements of upcoming Center events, as well as recent publications and media coverage of the Center. You can also access our newsletter the Ogmius.
If I sign up for your newsletter or briefing will you share my contact information with anyone?
No, we do not share our mailing lists. To sign up on our mailing list click here.
How do I find out more about science and technology policy education?
How do I find out about science and technology policy-related internships, fellowships, jobs, etc.?
Visit our S&T Jobs page for links to announcements of opportunities in the S&T field. Job openings are also occasionally posted in Ogmius and on the Center’s homepage.
I have a Ph.D. in one of the sciences with no training in science policy. How do I transition to a science policy career without returning to school?
- Apply for a fellowship in Washington, DC-- it's a great way to get your foot in the door for science policy without more school.
- Organizations that offer science policy fellowships for recent Ph.D.s in the sciences (and other fields):
- AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships
- The National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
- AGU Congressional Science Fellowship
- American Society for Microbiology Congressional Science Fellowship
- American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellowships
- American Chemical Society Public Policy Fellowships
- Current graduate students are eligible for NOAA Sea Grant Fellowships
- Stepping Away From the Bench: Science Policy at the National Academies, by Laura Sheahan
- Science Policy Career Resources, by Laure Haak
- A Matter of Policy, by Brian Vastag
Last updated 4/5/2016