OSIRIS Talk: Barry Bozeman

On November 8th, professor Barry Bozeman (Arizona State University) visited the OSIRIS consortium meeting and gave a keynote speech titled Public values criteria in science policy and evaluation: Challenges of moving from theory to application.

Public Values to Science, Technology and Innovation Policy

Economic inequality is on the rise, and is at its highest level in the US since they started measuring it. Bozeman's thought-provoking keynote pointed out that while this can be attributed to several factors, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) has a role to play. STI can be tied to economic growth, but there are increasing indications that STI also contributes to inequality.

This reverse causality is not part of any of the standard models measuring impacts of STI. It is a grey area that needs to be explored. Additionally, there are signs that a high trust in science is increasingly found only with a particular segment in society that is already well off. This raises the debate on whether STI policies are designed to serve the needs of the public at large or only the elite.  

There are a number of inequalities in the healthcare system which are reminiscent of the economic inequalities. For example, getting a disease is the most common cause of personal bankruptcy in the US. With minimal funding being devoted to “diseases of the poor,” while more support is given for diseases affecting a fraction of the people who have money or good insurance, one begins to wonder if the poor stand any chance of benefiting from STI.

Bozeman argued that STI also plays a major role in driving health-related inequalities. The prevailing situation where gross inequalities seem to be widening is untenable. A good way forward out of this situation is to include the notion of "public values" in evaluations of and discourses about STI policies. Bozeman's talk gave a few examples of public values, but also challenged funding agencies to support long-term work on this topic.


Barry Bozeman is a professor at Arizona State University. He is founding Director of the Center for Organization Research & Design (CORD), as well as Arizona Centennial Professor of Technology Policy and Public Management. Previous positions include Regents' Professor and Ander Crenshaw Endowed Chair of Public Policy, University of Georgia,  Regents Professor of Public Policy at Georgia Tech and professor of public administration, Syracuse University where he was the Maxwell Schools founding director of the Center for Technology and Information Policy. Bozeman's research focuses on public management, organization theory and science and technology policy.


Published Nov. 18, 2019 8:00 AM - Last modified July 29, 2022 10:51 AM