• Offered by Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Science Communication
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Communication, Science, Science Communication
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr William Grant
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course SCOM3027
  • Offered in Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

The interface between science and public policy - between our key modern sources of knowledge and action - is of fundamental importance to modern society.  Yet while our technologies and techniques of scientific enquiry have allowed us to learn ever more about the world, and our collective ability to enact change has become ever more powerful, the relationship between scientific knowledge and public policy action has never been entirely smooth. This course traces the dynamics, contours and fractures of this interface.

Topics covered include: policy for doing science and for implementing its outputs; appropriate science and technology policy and practice; the relationship between science priorities and government priorities; the implications of funding arrangements; science in the community; the differing languages and time frames of scientists and policy makers; practical techniques for community involvement; the tensions between what stakeholders want and what they need; and risk perception, analysis and communication.

It is our goal in this course to generate a mindset that can help to produce better policy for science, and better engage scientific enquiry with policy action.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Locate and critically assess literature relevant to political debate and policy formation from a wide variety of sources. 
  2. Drawing on a range of scientific and other sources, compose clear, persuasive and contextualised arguments for a range of audiences. 
  3. Understand and describe the key issues guiding the science / policy interaction.
  4. Engage experts in debate by questioning and critiquing their presentations. 

Indicative Assessment

  • 5 Opinion pieces drawing on relevant literature to address key science policy questions (5 x 15%, LO1, LO2, LO3)
  • Collaborative literature review (5% total, LO1)
  • Questions and discussions with experts (5%, LO4)
  • Reflective essay collating learning (15%, LO3)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


2 hour weekly seminar, 2 hours online discussion forum, 6 hours study time per week

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed SCOM3027.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
9783 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person
9784 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 Online

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