School of Public Policy's International Footprint Expands With Two New Partnerships

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The School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech recently established two new international relationships, one with the Universidad Externado in Bogotá, Colombia, and a second with the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

The relationships expand the School’s strong global footprint into the southern hemisphere, creating possibilities for faculty and student exchange, joint programs, research collaborations, and more.

In addition to the two new partnerships, the School signed a third agreement to continue its existing work with the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy in Japan. 

“Partnerships with institutions around the world enable our faculty and students to take part in a global exchange of ideas,” said Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Tom and Marie Patton Chair of the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. “They help us learn how we can innovate efficiently and equitably in our national science and technology policy systems — both in the U.S. and around the world.”

Sugimoto added that expanding and nurturing such partnerships gives the School opportunities to share and translate its expertise globally and provides public policy students with unique opportunities to experience and understand different national contexts.

A Global Kaleidoscope of Policy Innovation

While the School of Public Policy is widely recognized for its deep expertise in U.S. science and technology policy, Sugimoto said that its international presence and global connections are key to its success in policy education and research.

“Focusing on U.S. policy alone ignores the whole global array of innovations,” she said. “There are lessons we can learn from other countries’ policy systems that we can pull into our own domestic space, and vice versa. That’s why we are deeply embedded in a global network of institutions who care about science and technology policy systems all over the world.”

Associate Professor Richard Barke, director of Undergraduate Studies, is one of several public policy faculty who have taught courses in Georgia Tech’s study abroad programs. He agrees with Sugimoto that combining international experience with policy study gives students and faculty a perspective that simply can’t be gained any other way.

“When I teach policy courses overseas, students are exposed to subjects I wouldn’t normally teach about in Atlanta,” said Barke. “When I taught a policy course in Oxford, there was a comparative focus between U.S. and U.K. politics. When I taught that course in New Zealand, we focused on policy issues associated with the rights of the indigenous Maori. In Australia students learned about environmental policies affecting the Great Barrier Reef.”

Universidad Externado: The School of Finance, Government, and International Relations

The School of Public Policy has strong existing relationships in Colombia, including collaborations with the Colombian government, the World Bank, and other national and international agencies to promote competitiveness, productivity, and innovation through science and technology.

The new agreement with the Universidad Externado began with a Georgia Tech alumni connection. Gonzalo Ordóñez, dean of the School of Finance, Government, and International Relations (FIGRI) at Externado, received his Ph.D. in public policy from Georgia Tech. When he became dean at FIGRI, Ordóñez reached out to his alma mater to help build the program’s international presence.

The agreement lays the groundwork for new collaborative research and joint academic programs, including a possible joint capstone program, as well as faculty and student exchanges between the two institutions.

University of Stellenbosch: The Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science, and Technology

Similarly, the agreement with the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa paves the way for collaborations between the School of Public Policy and The Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science, and Technology (CREST), which is housed at the university. CREST is the major research evaluation unit within the country and the aggregator of all data produced by the country’s institutions of higher education, working with the National Research Foundation in South Africa and the National Science Foundation in the U.S.

“The partnership with the University of Stellenbosch is exciting, in part because CREST curates and houses incredible amounts of data,” said Sugimoto. “We look forward to working with our colleagues at Stellenbosch to gain insights into changing mechanisms in South Africa’s policy ecosystem — and to learning how those insights might be applied in other national science and technology policy systems.”


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