The Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy fosters interdisciplinary and community-engaged research on human well-being, environmental sustainability, and social justice in a complex and diverse world. The Center conducts public engagement with external partners, develops environmental leadership, and facilitates solutions-oriented projects at the nexus of science, technology, and environmental policy.
- Peter Calow, Center Faculty Member
- Gabriel Chan, STEP Area Chair
- Bonnie Keeler, Center Faculty Member
- Olivia Schares, Center Coordinator
Several Humphrey School affiliated faculty members are closely linked with the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.
- Conduct transformative research that helps solve the most pressing challenges at the intersection of science, technology, environment, and society.
- Explore best practices for translating science to action to inform policy problems around environment, sustainability, health, and well-being through multi-stakeholder engagement.
- Create a network of faculty, students, alumni, and partners that grounds the program in the real world, enabling high-impact action.
- Engage in knowledge co-production with diverse stakeholders to improve public understanding of science and the public's ability to make decisions on issues that involve science and technology.
- Create active learning environments with students, faculty, and professionals to translate science and technology into action.
Research at the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy connects naturally with other centers housed at the Humphrey School, as well as other units across the University of Minnesota campus such as the Institute on the Environment, the Water Resources Center, and the Technology Leadership Institute. The center is also a member organization of the UMN Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences.
Kenneth Keller came to the Humphrey School in September of 1996 after serving as President of the University of Minnesota. Keller saw how the intersection of science and policy was becoming an important aspect of society and established the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.
Keller had a few specific goals for the center. First, he made it a priority to create an endowed chair for the center to ensure that the mission would not rest in the work of one person. With a generous financial gift by Charles M. Denny, Jr., former CEO of ADC Telecommunications, Keller was able to establish the Denny Chair as the anchor for the center. The Denny Chair was most recently held by Professor Anu Ramaswami.
Keller also worked on expanding the faculty base in science and technology policy. He believed it was important to hire faculty members with both strong science backgrounds and those that had worked closely in policy areas. One outcome of this effort was the Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy degree program.
The original agreement signed by Keller, Dean Brain Atwood, and then-University President Robert Bruininks spoke to addressing the policy issues related to climate change and its impact on the economic sectors. Included in this agreement was a commitment to explore science and technology goals as they relate to security, economic growth, health, environmental sustainability, and education. Furthermore, the center was to research the impact of science and technology on political and economic relations among nations and to aid in the development of governmental policies that will support research and development locally, nationally, and internationally. These goals largely have been achieved.
STEP faculty were involved in a strategic planning process from 2014-2015 to sharpen the mission and vision of the program to align with the University’s emphasis on grand challenges. The Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) area at the Humphrey School focuses on public issues arising at the intersection of science, technology, environment and society that shape economic development, environmental sustainability, human health, and well-being.