An agent, not a mole: Assessing the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

26 June 2014, 5:30pm


SPEAKER: Professor David M Hart

RESPONDENT: Professor Susan Owens, University of Cambridge Department of Geography

VENUE: Judge Business School, W2.01

DATE: 5:30pm – 7:30pm, Thursday 26 June 2014

David Hart is the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy at George Mason University in the US. He has made it his business to understand how public policy influences scientific knowledge and technological innovation. By setting developments in science and technology in their broader social, political, and economic context, he provides insights to practitioners, scholars, and students about how to manage change for the greater benefit of society.

In this seminar, Professor Hart argues in favour of four criteria for assessing the performance of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) within the Executive Office of the US President: trying to kill bad ideas (and sometimes succeeding), mobilizing expertise and confidence to support crisis response, identifying new issues and developing presidential policy initiatives, and catalysing and coordinating multi-agency science and technology activities, especially in response to presidential goals. These criteria are illustrated with episodes from OSTP’s history. They place OSTP in a variety of roles, ranging from disinterested broker of expertise to policy entrepreneur, but always as an agent of the President.

Information on this article and other publications can be found here.

Professor David Hart

George Mason University, School of Public Policy

Professor Susan Owens

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge