About ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst

Science, Technology and Society Initiative

1. What are the primary issues, goals, or questions addressed by this initiative, and how are external, (non-university) partners included it the specification of the issues, goals and questions?
The Science, Technology and Society Initiative (STS) was established to advance multidisciplinary collaborative research across the social, natural, and physical sciences, engineering, and public policy. The Initiative also provides a forum for discussion of emerging global as well as local issues in science, technology and society. Our external partners include national and international university-based and other research centers and institutes, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and civil society groups. This diverse network of partners ensures a translation of research questions and findings across boundaries, builds public understanding of science and technology research conducted at UMass Amherst, and extends theory to influence emerging public policy.
2. Provide a general description or summary of the approaches, methods and activities employed and explain how external, (non-university) partners are included in the design of the approaches, methods and activities.
STS uses a variety of methods to reach out to a diverse group of non-university partners, including international organizations, local community groups, and state and federal agencies. It has organized workshops to convene scholars, practitioners, government officials, and advocacy organizations; town hall forums to capture input from concerned citizenry and to connect them directly with government leaders and non-profit organizations; seminars, colloquia and brown bag series to highlight emerging research findings and policy challenges in science, technology and society; and fellowship programs to create bridges between UMass Amherst and other national and international universities and research centers. STS also uses Internet-enabled technologies, including social networking tools, video lectures, an e-newsletter, and digital repositories to reach across physical boundaries to communicate globally. Its faculty affiliates deliver invited and keynote lectures on almost every continent.
3. Provide a general description of the products that are developed or other results that are produced through this initiative. Highlight the products or results that benefit external, (non-university) partners and describe how they have been (or will be) used.
The products developed through STS include academic publications and practitioner reports, which raise the profile of the University and serve to inform practice; video lectures and presentations, which capture and disseminate knowledge around the globe; curriculum materials, which can be used by faculty members to incorporate international ethics frameworks and cases into their science and engineering courses; and, with its partners, articulation and other multi-institutional academic agreements, which work to create clear pathways from MA high schools and community colleges to universities and the workforce. Further, the methods used by STS to encourage external participation and support are themselves important products. The connections made through STS workshops, seminars, and other activities are invaluable in supporting new funding opportunities, industry partnerships, and local, state, and federal policy.