With the development of a refined mission statement and vision for TPP, there are a number of ongoing efforts directed toward achieving these goals.
The TPP degree is being refined and focused as a professional Master's degree that broadens the education of engineers and scientists to prepare them for leadership positions at the interface of technology and policy. The degree program will be strengthened by taking advantage of courses at MIT's Sloan School of Management and by developing courses with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and with the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
A substantial curriculum development effort is being undertaken. The Master's degree curriculum will be revamped around the following principles:
- The TPP degree is aimed at developing professional competence in the development and implementation of responsible strategies & policies for the exploitation and control of technology.
- The TPP degree will have some common core elements with the LGO and SDM degrees to embed it more fully in ESD and make best use of MIT resources.
- The TPP degree will be made available in a condensed version for export to other universities including consideration of distance learning options.
It will include modules in policy & policy analysis, organizational processes, leadership (both by study and by engaging leaders from across MIT) and values as articulated through history and law. It will have focal points in specific tracks such as biotechnology, electric power, environment, global change, aerospace, etc. A thesis requirement will demonstrate cross cutting dual competence through the conduct of integrative research.
The TMP degree has been restructured as a field or track in the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) doctoral degree. Along with the ESD PhDs, it has become a focused doctoral degree oriented around the original solution of a problem at the interface of technology, management and policy. Candidates for the degree will be engineers and scientists who conduct research at the interface of technology and one of the applied social sciences. The degree will have the following elements:
- Breadth across policy sciences, management sciences, and a technical area,
- Depth in two of these, and
- Broad based certification by ESD faculty.
TPP is working to establish a research core for the program. While TPP has been a provider of students to ongoing technology/policy research programs at MIT, the full implementation of the vision requires a much stronger research position. A TPP research core will provide the mechanism for joining social sciences with the natural sciences and engineering for the purpose of anticipating and addressing the ethical and policy consequences of new and emerging technologies. As such, this effort can be viewed as "midwifing" at the birth of new technologies -- anticipating problems and offering up the necessary situation analyses for effective policies and planning.
A doctoral program would serve as one means to establish such a research core associated with TPP. It would flow from MIT's strengths and address emerging critical issues at the interface of technology and policy. In order to do this, TPP/TMP is pursuing the development of a Technology Policy Institute (TPI) in cooperation with the Center for International Studies.
The primary goal of the TPI would be to produce Ph.D. students trained to promote the theory and practice of the field of technology & policy analysis. The proposed activities will center on an ongoing effort to identify and evaluate policy issues that may arise out of pending scientific research and technical advances. This effort, by "backcasting" requirements and then developing the analyses that would be necessary to confront these developments effectively, would serve as a workshop within which the goals of the TPI would be achieved: advancing the methods that will be required to deal with the challenges of future technological developments while training researchers in their practice and application. Students would be trained broadly enough to address the policy implications of new areas of technological advance as they emerge over the course of their careers. Similarly, over the long term, the specific focus of training and research activities on technology policy at MIT would shift as new technologies appear at the frontiers of science and engineering.