A new collaboration between the Cambridge University Science & Policy Exchange (CUSPE) and MIT’s Science Policy Initiative (SPI) gave Edward Oughton, a Land Economist in the second year of his PhD, the opportunity to visit and engage with researchers at top US government agencies in Washington DC. The purpose of the trip was to understand and discuss the role of science and technology in contemporary policy-making processes; something seen to be increasingly important for early career researchers.
The three day initiative included visits to the Office of Science & Technology Policy located in the White House, as well as the Department of Energy, Department of State (equivalent to the Foreign Office) and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Common recurring themes included issues surrounding information and communications technologies (ICT), innovation and economic competitiveness – all particularly pertinent to Edward’s PhD research which examines the economic impacts of ICT infrastructure on cities. A number of funding agencies and think tanks were also visited, including the National Science Foundation, National Academy of Sciences and the Brookings Institution.
Edward said “the initiative provided me with a unique opportunity to understand the organisational structure of the US Government, and how academic research in science and technology is used to inform decision making in different departments. It was certainly a highlight of my professional development at the University of Cambridge, expanding my awareness of the opportunities and challenges shared by the US, UK and Europe.”
Edward’s trip was funded in part by Land Economy’s Graduate Conference and Travel Fund.