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Centre for Science and Policy Workshop 

On 26 November 2020, students from the Elite Graduate Program “Responsibility in Science Engineering and Technology” (M.A. RESET) gained an insight into the role of evidence and expertise in the policy-making process in an online workshop organized by the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge.

Hands-on learning

In 1995, the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat was devastated by a volcanic eruption. One idea to mitigate future loss of life is to deploy drones, which could monitor the Soufriere Hills. The RESET students’ task was to provide a policy recommendation on this proposal. The twist? Their recommendation would be delivered to seasoned policy professionals, playing the roles of a minister and scientific advisor. 

This was just one of three exercises organized by the CSaP team as part of the Professional Development Workshop. Over the course of the day, 23 students from the RESET Elite Master’s Program gained a vivid impression of how their experiences as graduate students could be put to use in the world of policy, before putting their analytic skills to the test.

Careers beyond the academy

Students especially appreciated the opportunity to quiz the four distinguished guests about their respective careers. Dr. Koen Jonkers, for example, introduced students to the work of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre while Dr. Julia Knights narrated how her career took her from the civil service to her current post as Deputy Director of the Science Museum, London. As they spoke, one could clearly see new ambitions taking root in students’ faces.

Creating opportunities in a pandemic

Social distancing has deprived students of much of the “normal” university life. Eager to ensure that students do not miss out, MCTS’ staff are committed to creating new opportunities for students, above and beyond their usual offerings. “One outcome of the pandemic is that remote working has been normalized,” says Dr. Makoto Takahashi, a lecturer on the RESET M.A. Program.

“This presents numerous challenges but also allows us to foster links between our students in Munich and inspiring colleagues across the globe, including the fantastic team at CSaP”. It was with this in mind that he first proposed the workshop. “CSaP certainly inspired! More than half of our students applied for an internship with CSaP this year and one student was selected. After this workshop, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s even higher next year.”

Text: Elite Graduate Program "Responsibility in Science, Engineering and Technology"