Summer 2021 - POL 150 D100

Science, Policy, and Innovation (3)

Class Number: 3282

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 17, 2021
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



Explores how science and technology intersect with public policy. From debates about climate change to the proper boundaries of security and privacy in the Information Age, the politicization of science is an inescapable reality that has far-reaching consequences for scientific advances innovation, and human quality of life. Breadth-Hum/Social Sci/Science.



The context of this introductory and “breadth”* Social Science course on science, policy and innovation is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which advances us beyond the previous industrial revolutions towards transformational technologies ranging from digitization, robotics, biotechnology, genetics, nanotechnology, and others. Our chief objective in the course is to explore the complex interplay amongst science, technology, innovation and public policy, both in Canada and globally. Through the application of various public policy models, theories, and case studies, we tackle some of the most pressing issues of our day, asking: What can science, technology and innovation do to remedy the ongoing climate crisis, global health pandemics, food security and the post-truth world? Which skills and knowledge do I need to ensure a robot or AI does not replace me at work? What are the ethical and privacy implications of the surveillance state, Big Data? Should rich states of the Global North share intellectual property with developing nations of the Global South? In addressing these issues and debates, we will take a multi-disciplinary approach involving Political Science, Public Policy, Political Economy, International Development and Business. The complexity of our topic is embraced by employing a multi-scalar approach that considers the varied roles of individuals as citizens and consumers, firms and private sector actors, nation-states, global governance and international organizations in the governance of science, technology and innovation. 

*For Breadth Courses, see:


  • The course is run remotely and asynchronously, and students will meet in tutorials early Monday afternoons (12:30~2:20). Tutorials are run as “conferences” in which students share their understandings of the week’s reading materials.
  • Lecture slides and accompanying lecture videos will be posted for each week, with opportunities for students to listen in, or meet with the instructor at regular virtual office hours to discuss the course materials and assignments.


  • Tutorial ‘Conferences’ 10%
  • Discussion Questions & Forums 15%
  • Group Project: Policy Brief 15%
  • Research Essay in Stages: (Proposal 5%; Peer Review 5%, Final Essay 20%) 30%
  • Final Exam (Take-home, open book) 30%



The required readings for the course draw primarily from the chapters of two books, both of which are freely available ebooks from the SFU Library.

  • Bruce Doern, David Castle and Peter Phillips (2016). Canadian Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: The Innovation Economy and Society Nexus. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
    • SFU Library electronic book
  •  Daniele Archibugi and Andrea Filippetti (editors) (2015). The Handbook of Global Science, Technology, and Innovation. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
    • SFU Library electronic book

Other book chapters, government and industry reports, and scholarly journal articles will be digitally available on Canvas, the course digital learning platform.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).