Supporting Federal Decision Making through Participatory Technology Assessment

Authors: Nicholas Weller, Michelle Sullivan Govani, and Mahmud Farooque


The incoming administration faces complex issues at the intersections of science, technology, and society. As such, the next administration should establish a special unit within the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI)—an existing federally funded research and development center (FFRDC)—to provide capacity for Participatory Technology Assessment (pTA) to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and across executive branch agencies.

A pTA unit within STPI would provide pTA as a service for the executive branch regarding emerging scientific and technological issues and questions. By integrating public voices alongside expert assessments, the next administration can ensure that federal science and technology decisions provide the greatest benefit to society.

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About the Authors

Nicholas Weller is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Arizona State University. He promotes engagement among scientists, public audiences, policy makers, and cultural organizations in service of creating a just, free, and sustainable future. He studies the use of deliberative public forums to shape science and policy on uncertain, contested, and technical topics. Currently, he works with ASU’s Center for Innovation in Informal STEM Learning to help professionals at museums and other cultural organizations develop sustainability-related programs. He also works with ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes to better link science with public values.