On Friday, October 15, the Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy (ISTPP) in the Bush School of Government and Public Service celebrated its ten year anniversary with a rededication ceremony and reception. The event was held in the Bush Court of the Robert H. and Judy Ley Allen Building on the Bush School campus, and was attended by President George Bush, 41st President of the United States; Mrs. Bush; many of the Institute’s research partners from across the Texas A&M University System; as well as Bush School students, faculty, and staff. President Bush thanked the Institute for its contributions to the Bush School and its impact on public policy.
ISTPP was established in 2000 as an interdisciplinary research and service unit that would bring together the expertise required to solve complex contemporary policy problems.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dean Ryan Crocker noted the significant impact the Institute’s research program has had on public policy.
“ISTPP has earned a well-deserved reputation as a ‘go to’ place for organizations seeking guidance on issues requiring input from more than one academic discipline,” Crocker said. “As the Institute enters its second decade, ISTPP’s proven ability to bring together experts in a range of fields, from technology to economics to history, bodes well for its future,” he added.
The Institute’s founding and current director, Dr. Arnold Vedlitz, noted that when the Institute was being developed, he and Robert Gates, dean when ISTPP was established, had clear goals for the Institute. “We shared the belief that ISTPP would enhance the Bush School’s and University’s ability to disseminate research and faculty knowledge on important interdisciplinary topics and positively affect policy development, economic development, and solutions to problems of importance for the State of Texas, the nation, and the international community,” he said. ISTPP research is focused in four major policy areas: environmental and natural resources, emerging technologies, infrastructure and built environment, and health policy.
Vedlitz noted that since its inception, the Institute has attracted over $15 million in funding for more than twenty projects. ISTPP has partnered with over 200 researchers from The Texas A&M University System and other U.S. universities and has had research collaborations in China, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Recent projects include major studies on how science information about global climate change was used by decision makers in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida; public understanding of air quality issues within the state; and the future of hybrid electric vehicles.
ISTPP’s research program also provides opportunities for Bush School students to participate in ground-breaking studies, work on scholarly publications, and interact with researchers from around the nation. Since its inception, more than fifty-four Bush School students have been employed by the Institute to assist with a range of research projects.