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Science, Technology and Innovation Policy
Technology, Society and Development I

  • Rui Baptista (IST)
  • António Firmino da Costa (ISCTE)
  • Rui Santos (FCSH, UNL)

    Visiting Lecturer:
  • Jean-Pierre Contzen (IST & UNU)

    Course Coordinator:
  • Rui Baptista, IST

    The objective of this course is to develop analytical and research skills in order to enable students to understand and analyze a wide array of complex issues associated with the social and economic role played by science, technology and innovation, and the concomitant implications for public and business policies. The course is taught during two trimester terms, each including nine weekly sessions. The present syllabus deals with the first term only.

    The curriculum content has a sound theoretical foundation, and requires the reading of an assigned list of bibliographical references for the preparation of each class - the reference list given for the first class provides a background which is applicable throughout all topics covered by the course, and thus is also mandatory reading. However, and additionally, there is an interest in illustrating the "practice" of science, technology and innovation policies from both the government and business/entrepreneurial points of view.

    Typically, each session will be devoted to a limited and well-defined list of topics which will be covered through lecture material ministered by the teaching staff or by guest lecturers with research and/or practical experience in specific fields, as well as by student presentations prepared in advance, based on a list of bibliographical references. Students are encouraged to extend the list of references offered in the course syllabus in order to prepare their presentations and to improve on their individual assignments.

    The student assignments include, therefore:
    a) Presentations by pre-assigned groups involving a specific research topic of particular interest for the session, which will usually draw upon one or more papers in the list of bibliographical references. Depending on the session, one or two groups of students will be asked to prepare presentations that should take no more that 15-20 minutes, plus discussion. Groups should include two or three students; groups are free to choose the specific topics or papers (included in the reading list) that they wish to present in class on a first come-first served basis, and should discuss their presentations in advance with both the course coordinator and the instructor assigned as discussion leader for the specific session in which the presentation is to occur. Each group is expected to present at least three times during the two trimester terms that make up the course. Students are encouraged to switch across groups during the course. The purpose of this is to promote cooperative work skills on non-structured problems, stimulating the development of specialized and complementary competencies.

    b) The development of individual projects in which students should focus on one or a few complementary research topics amongst the ones presented and analyzed during the course, through a thorough literature review and an examination of specific cases of Science, Technology and Innovation policies at the business or public sector levels, or involving a regional, national or multinational dimension. This contribution should have a prospective character, based on the assessment of different literature streams and on the examination of the evolution of the Science, Technology and Innovation systems relevant for the desired level/dimension of analysis. Students are encouraged to seek the collaboration of at least one of the instructors in providing specific literature references and advice on how to structure the analysis, but should also show initiative in looking for other sources of information and advice. Project development should ideally provide a significant contribution towards the choice, refinement and elaboration of the topic for the Master Thesis. Individual projects should present a Progress Report after the first trimester term, and a Final Report following the second trimester term.
    Student assessment will be based on the following components:
    • Class participation and involvement throughout the course;
    • Participation in at least three group presentations of research topics/papers in class during the two trimester terms - the search for, and use of extra bibliographical references on specific topics is especially valued; moreover, bibliographical references should be understood as "starting points" to the presentation and discussion of topics, thus presentations should not be limited to the summarizing of the chosen reference texts.
    • Individual assignment: while the progress report should, inasmuch as possible, include a detailed literature review, searching for possible practical applications to Science, Technology and Innovation Policy issues, the final report should provide a complete research paper, using the literature as a basis to examine a specific issue.
    The following table provides a detailed syllabus for the first term, including the list of bibliographical references.