The Center for Science, Technology, and Policy (CTSP) was established as a joint venture of the University of New Mexico and Sandia National Laboratories. Launched in 2003 as the Office for Policy, Security, and Technology, the program was transformed into CSTP in February 2007. Since its founding, CSTP has worked to develop research, education, and public outreach programs across a broad range of public policy and science and technology issues. The program emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach that brings together the public policy expertise that resides in the social sciences and humanities with the expertise found in the physical and natural sciences and engineering.
Public institutions such as universities and national laboratories have responded to opportunities to serve the public interest by developing innovative multidisciplinary activities that target critical policy issue areas. Yet the pace of leveraging these opportunities has often been slow and inadequate. Advantaged by its close relationship with a prominent national laboratory and faculty associates from across the University of New Mexico’s colleges and schools, the CSTP provides a unique vehicle for the development of collaborative, multidisciplinary research, education, and public engagement programs at the intersection of S&T and public policy. CSTP’s work is focused on three central areas:
- Science, Technology, and Security;
- Science and Technology Policy; and
- Science, Technology, and Society.
Cross-disciplinary approaches to complex, multifaceted international and domestic challenges and opportunities have become increasingly important. In realms ranging from energy alternatives, environmental stewardship, and water management to proliferation, terrorism, and homeland security, an understanding of the interaction between science and technology (S&T) and policy is critical. The two—S&T and public policy—exist in distinct but overlapping spheres. Science and technology research and public policy are interdependent but insufficiently integrated. Each has the potential to provide solutions for the other; each also has the potential to exacerbate or create dilemmas confronting the other. Public policy, whether local, state, national, or international, must be informed by a sound understanding of science and technology. And science and technology research must be more fully informed by analysis of its potentially wide-ranging economic, political, and social implications as well as by an enhanced awareness of the legitimate needs and concerns of the policy community.