2012 Gordon Research Conference on Science and Technology Policy Recap

Gordon Research Conference 2012
Gordon Research Conference 2012

The Gordon Research Conference on Science and Technology Policy is held every two years and is an international conference devoted solely to studies of science & tech policy. The conference seeks to combine the latest in ongoing policy research and analysis with insights into the practice of decision-making from local to national levels of government. The conference site is at the beautiful Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire.

I was selected to be a speaker at the Gordon Research Seminar on Science and Technology Policy, a two-day seminar which immediately preceded the week-long conference. I spoke on “China’s Trade and Industrial Policies in Critical Metals: The Case of Rare Earth Elements”. The seminar featured junior scholars (PhD students, postdocs and assistant professors) as speakers. The discussant for my panel was Dr. Susan Cozzens, a well-known S&T policy scholar. The seminar also included an interactive workshop on professional career development, in which several tenured professors talked about their career paths. It also included a one-on-one mentoring session (which took the form of Q&A) that participants could sign up for in advance. I met up with two very kind experts in the field and got some great advice from them. One is an engineering PhD who now work on international science collaboration in the federal government, and she told me about her career transition from engineering to government (which I identified with) and the projects she have been working on.  The other scholar is a professor who has done extensive fieldwork in developing countries, and he offered me lots of advice about conducting fieldwork site visits, approaching stakeholders, and applying for funding.

I also gave a poster presentation at the Gordon Research Conference afterwards. The conference speakers were prominent individuals in high positions in academia, industry, and the federal government who have the potential to change policy processes. I learned a great deal from the discussions between practitioners and researchers at the conference. I was also deeply impressed by the diversity of disciplines involved: scholars of physics, chemistry, aerospace engineering, ethics, communications, public policy and political science came together for the common interest in science & tech policy. The conference exposed to me a wide range of scientific and technological issues that affect scientists and engineers in both government and industry. It also introduced me to a great expanding network of science & tech policy analysts across the world.

I am grateful for the generous travel funding from the following sources: Coca Cola-Sam Nunn School summer travel grant; Georgia Tech Anne Robinson Clough International Student scholarship; Gordon Research Seminar travel grant (speakers get reimbursement for lodging and registration); Gordon Research Conference travel grant.

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