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Science, Technology, and Public Policy

The Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP) is a research, teaching, and outreach program of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Solutions to many of the world's most challenging problems involve complex scientific and technological issues. Good policy making in these areas requires access to the frontier of scientific knowledge, not simply to translate scientific information, but to bring an appreciation for the potential and the limitations of scientific understanding, blending scientific insights with those from other relevant disciplines including economics and politics. From the nuclear negotiations with Iran to privacy concerns about big data, current events remind us how scientific knowledge has become essential to good policy making, whether at local, national, or international scales.

Bringing science and technology into the design of public policy has been the tradition and the objective of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) at Harvard Kennedy School for nearly four decades.  Founded by the late Harvey Brooks, STPP has earned an international reputation for integrating scientific expertise with practical experience in politics and policy. Past leaders of the program, including John Holdren, science advisor to President Obama, and Venkatesh Narayanamurti, former dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, have developed research groups focused on critical issues of national security, energy, and climate, including nuclear proliferation and energy technology innovation.  Under the new direction of Dan Schrag, STPP continues to contribute to the unique role that Harvard Kennedy School plays in the broader university, "training public leaders, and generating ideas that provide solutions to our most challenging public problems."

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