Ecologic University Course on Science-based Policy Advice (2013)
What does policy advice mean in practice? How does science-based policy advice work and where are the problems and challenges? These and other questions were discussed by Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers and Timo Kaphengst within a teaching assignment at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences. Some 40 Bachelor's degree students participated in the seminar, which was split into three two-day blocks.
This was the fourth summer term in which Ecologic Institute Fellows taught the course as so called "practice partners." Students were introduced to the institute's work and the day-to-day functioning of a non-university research institute providing science-based policy advice using practical examples from every-day working life. The students were taught the relevant professional capacities needed in such a workplace (e.g., presenting information in an appropriate way for decision makers, team work, self-reflection) and also acquired knowledge on current political topics (e.g., resource and biodiversity policies).
In addition, theoretical debates formed an important part of the seminar; aspects discussed included the different forms of advice and lobbying, the democratic legitimacy of various forms of advice as well as guidelines for undertaking policy advice in the public interest. Last but not least, methodological approaches stemming from the field of political science formed part of the curriculum.
By taking part in the International Degree Course in Policy Management, students are prepared for the following activities:
- Positions in parliaments, authorities and administrations, parties, associations, and similarly structured organizations like businesses and consultancies.
- Consultancy in local, national, supra-, trans- and international government positions, public institutions, and non-governmental organizations.
- Fellowship in the field of political communication and public affairs like press offices.
- Institutional organization and human resources management in politically active organizations.