Science, Technology and Public Policy

Taught as POGO8138/VCPG8138, and a Professional Workshop Series

A 2020 graduate course co-convened by the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) and the Crawford School of Public Policy 

  • Learn flexibly and establish strong professional networks in ANU graduate classes
  • Learn how to navigate the intersection between science, technology and public policy in ways that apply to your everyday policy work
  • Series of one-day workshops
  • Optional credit arrangements towards your ANU graduate degree

Course overview

Initiated by Professor Ian Chubb AC in 2019, this ANU course addresses the needs of public servants whose working days are dominated by having to advise decision-makers on policy challenges when technological change is rapid and the evidence base is complex.

This is true of any number of policy domains, including health, agriculture, the economy, the environment, energy, defence, infrastructure and education. The Covid-19 crisis illustrates the challenges of providing advice when evidence is incomplete and contested.

In supporting ministers with solutions to contemporary challenges, policy advisers are expected to identify, integrate and balance diverse social, economic, security and international perspectives.

Those who do this successfully typically demonstrate an ability to critically assess multiple types and sources of evidence, which they then synthesise into sound policy judgments that meet the needs of government, citizens and stakeholders.

Course aims

The aim of this course is to develop the public reasoning skills required to accomplish this task.

As such, it will tackle the following learning outcomes in 2020:

  • Understanding the attributes of good policy advice
  • Understanding major insights and frameworks from science & technology policy studies and exploring their relevance to policy advice in Australia
  • Building skills in accessing, evaluating and reasoning about different sources of formal scientific and technical knowledge
  • Integrating evidence from formal knowledge with perspectives arising from national and international obligations

Learn and network with experts

Each learning day involves working with diverse and senior expertise from the Australian Public Service, and from science, social science, engineering and public policy across ANU.

Course materials are curated to address specific policy questions from relevant literature across a range of disciplines including:

  • science and engineering
  • science and technology studies
  • policy and governance studies
  • science communication
  • responsible innovation
  • science policy studies

Your pathway to apply for credit towards ANU graduate studies

The Science, Technology and Public Policy graduate course is designed so that participants may access credit towards an ANU graduate  degree in line with our new micro-credentials framework. 

About the workshops

Each interactive workshop will build on contributions from senior APS staff and ANU experts, and will focus on a specific policy challenge, such as sustaining economic viability and public welfare in the face of technological, geo-political or social disruptions.

Participants will develop the ability to mount reasoned arguments in their own policy advice. 


The full day workshops for 2020 will run from 9:00am to 4:30pm in the Crawford School of Public Policy on the following dates:

  • Friday, 1 May
  • Friday, 8 May
  • Friday, 15 May
  • Friday, 5 June
  • Friday, 12 June
  • Friday, 19 June

The workshop on 1 May will provide an overview of major cross-cutting themes at the interface of science, technology and policy advice that are relevant for all case studies. It will consist of guest presentations from the APS and the ANU, and facilitated discussion by course conveners. 

Case studies and themes

Learning in an interactive case-study classroom, you’ll engage with the distinctive issues emerging from the intersection between scientific knowledge, technological opportunities and public policy decisions.

With this learning, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the interface between science, technology and public policy for your everyday policy work.

Case studies will connect and build upon the cross-cutting themes presented in the introductory workshop including:

  • Evidence, politics and policy: the case of live animal export (8 May 2020)
  • New technologies for policy challenges: the case of environmental biosecurity and gene editing (15 May 2020)
  • Innovation in the public sector: the case of Augmented Intelligence (AI) and public service delivery (5 June 2020)​
  • Science and policy: the case of climate change (12 June 2020)
  • Building the evidence base for policy: the case of protection of Indigenous knowledge (19 June 2020)


To gain an ANU Micro-credential for any of the workshops, participants need to successfully complete the following assessment task. 

  • 1000-word analysis of case study (for workshops running from 8 May to 19 June)
  • 1000-word analysis of key insights on policy advice (for 1 May workshop)


Individual workshops are $700. The full series of 6 workshops costs $3600.

Register your interest for 2020

To register, please visit:

For further information please contact the ANU Centre for the Public Awareness of Science


T: 02 6125 5394 

Course team

Associate Professor Sujatha Raman

Director of Research, Centre for Public Awareness of Science (CPAS), The Australian National University


Dr Christiane Gerblinger

Sir Roland Wilson Scholar, The Australian National University 


With guest presentations from senior experts in the Australian Public Service, the Crawford School and the ANU College of Science.

Due to circumstances around Covid-19, provisions are being made to deliver the 2020 workshops online via Zoom.