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The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP): Bringing Foresight to the Frontier

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1. Emerging technologies

The modern era is defined by exponential leaps in scientific understanding and technological breakthroughs. But the potential impacts of these breakthroughs – in research, in policy, in society – are not always clear.  We analyze and translate how emerging technologies will impact international relations, from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence to Big Data.

2. Vital conversations

We equip decision-makers and the public with the tools to help understand advancements in science and technology.  From hack-a-thons to seminar series for Congressional staff, our goal is to help communicate complex policy topics in an engaging, accessible way.

3. Making science policy accessible to everyone

Science informs policy, but it is not just for scientists. STIP engages with audiences from middle school classrooms to the Hill to help educate and inform the American people about leading issues in public policy.  We value science that is experiential and participatory, whether captured through citizen science or serious games.

Current Projects

Earth Challenge 2020: We are collaborating on the largest coordinated environmental data collection the world has ever seen – collected by global citizens on the ground, around the world. The data will allow us to get the pulse of the environment, and inform public policy with global policy bodies like the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework.

5G & North American Tech Trust: In an age of increased geostrategic competition and as the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement is ratified, should the North American region create a grand technology strategy leveraging the best talent each nation has to offer?  As technologies evolve and new ones emerge, how will regional governments adapt traditional jurisdictional lane markers and evaluate the efficacy of existing policy tools?   What mechanisms – from incubators and test centers to summits – are needed?  In addition to broadly facilitating dialogue around cooperation on this idea, we will conduct deeper research into key emerging technology areas, beginning with 5G.

Congressional Technology Labs: Technology issues occupy a growing share of the Congressional agenda; every day, staff advise Members and Senators on digital policy. It is critically important that both lawmakers and aides be well-versed in the complex subjects at hand.  The core of the Center’s Technology Labs is a six-week seminar series that introduces participants to foundational topics in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, quantum information science and more.  Top technologists and scholars drawn from the private, public, and non-profit sectors lead each seminar, and each week's seminar includes a tabletop exercise--in which participants are divided into groups and given scenarios to roleplay that emphasize the role of the legislative branch.  With nearly 1,000 graduates, our programs offer a forum for simulating and poking holes in policy proposals.

Serious Games Initiative: Our decade-old Serious Games Initiative leads the way on game-based learning to help millions of Americans understand complex problems like ocean plastics or disinformation. Latest projects include the Fiscal Ship, a game about federal budgetary policy in partnership with the Brookings Institution, and the Plastic Pipeline, a game prototype dealing about plastic debris policies  partially supported by the National Geographic Society.

THING Tank: Through research, analysis, and practical activities exploring different low-cost and open source hardware devices, we are bringing emerging communities together to understand the potential for these technologies to accelerate science, strengthen decision-making, and broaden public participation.