Science-Policy Interface: International Comparisons Workshop

Date: May 21 to May 23, 2014
Location: Balsillie School of International Affairs

The science policy interface is increasingly seen as a crucial aspect of governance in the 21st century. One of the challenges facing assessments of the science policy interface is that different national contexts have different cultures regarding both how science feeds into policy decisions and how policy influences science.

The workshop will bring together scholars and practitioners of science policy issues from Canada, the U.S. (United States), and the U.K. (United Kingdom) to compare their experiences and insights on how science policy works in each culture. After a day of discussion about each of the three nations (to provide the general backdrop for how science policy works in each context), the workshop will focus on different topics, with panels of speakers drawn from the different countries. Specific topics will include patent policy, think tanks, emerging technologies, public participation, and international science advice.

The workshop will last three days, providing ample time for in depth discussions among participants. The workshop aims to provide a synoptic overview of science policy interfaces in these three contexts with an aim to:

  1. See what the differences are among the contexts
  2. See whether general norms for science policy interactions apply across contexts
  3. See whether this approach to examining the science policy interface proves to be a useful methodology

The workshop does not aim, therefore, to be the final word on international comparative work on the science policy interface. With such a narrow slice of national contexts, it rather seeks to see whether this approach is viable and insightful, and thus whether wider ranging comparisons in the future should be pursued, and with what conceptual frameworks.

Space is currently wait-listed, if you are interested in attending please email Heather Douglas (

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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Workshop Schedule


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