The Future of Policy Sciences

Open Panel

The purpose of this panel is explore the future of policy sciences both as an intellectual enterprise but also as a pedagogical set of activities focused on teaching and training policy professionals. The themes of the panel are broad and encourage conceptual, theoretical, critical and practical assessments from the vantage point of any of the following:

• The state of the art of policy studies: where are we at in terms of the intellectual enterprise of policy science and where are we going? Trends, critical junctures, potential tipping points and possible trajectories. How is the field evolving and what is driving its intellectual evolution –and to what end? Are there weaknesses in this enterprise, blind spots, or fields of inquiry receiving too little or too much attention?

• What are the emerging threats to policy science and the growth drivers that have seen policy studies emerge as a leading area of inquiry in the social sciences? This might include issues such as the rise of populism and challenges to evidence-based policy making.

• Teaching policy science and training policy professionals. Are we teaching the right tools, skills and offering the appropriate courses? Historically, policy programmes have focused on training in-service government professionals or those intending careers in government or government related organisations. The curriculum of policy schools were typically designed around the needs of this set of students. Is this any longer the case and if not, what should we be teaching in the classroom and how?

The panel encourages critical stocktakings and reflections on the state of policy science, its strengths and weaknesses, and where it may or should be heading in the future.