Panel: Running to Stand Still: Rapidly Emerging Technologies and the Challenge of Requisite Knowledge in Public Agencies
(Innovations in Science and Technology)

Saturday, November 9, 2019: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Court 4 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Ann Keller, University of California, Berkeley
Panel Chair:  David Hart, George Mason University
Discussants:  Stuart Bretschneider, Arizona State University and David Hart, George Mason University

Rapidly emerging technologies can create a knowledge management challenge in public organizations. Public agencies, designed around yesterday’s technological imperatives, have to adapt in order to fulfill their missions as new technologies emerge. When technological innovation is rapid, regulatory adaptation must be equally rapid. The papers in this panel explore questions of knowledge management in public agencies by focusing how public regulatory agencies respond to CRISPR/Cas-9 and autonomous vehicle technologies. These two primary cases are further informed by a comparison with the recent experience of scientific capacity at the Environmental Protection Agency and by a consideration of how technical expertise is maintained or eroded in support of federal legislative functions. These cases, when taken together, give rise to a broader consideration of the scientific and technical capacity held by public organizations and asks how scholars and practitioners might measure knowledge-based capacity in public settings. With public policies increasingly characterized by scientific and technical complexity, public organizations need to build and maintain sufficient technical expertise to understand the changing external environment and to adequately respond to that environment. However, a number of pressures might be acting on public agencies in ways that erode scientific and technical capacity. This issue cuts across academic and practitioner audiences.  The panel is designed to provide an opportunity for practitioners and researchers to engage with this topic and encourage future collaborations and research.

Interest Group Influence on FDA Policy Decision-Making
Susan Webb Yackee, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Public Sector Technical Capacity: Keeping Pace with Gene Editing Technology at the FDA
Ann Keller and Ken Taymor, University of California, Berkeley

Keeping up with the Technology: “Muddling through” on Autonomous Vehicles
Margaret Taylor, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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