Doctoral Program in Engineering and Public Policy

EPP focuses on problems in science, technology and public policy in which the interaction of technology, humans and institutions play are of central importance. It addresses unstructured and complex problems that are best tackled by combining fundamental and applied knowledge from various traditional research fields using multidisciplinary research mechanisms and tools.  

Students participating in the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program will be enrolled in the Ph.D. Program of Carnegie Mellon's EPP Department and in one of the Portuguese Universities involved:  

In recognition of the completion of the program, Carnegie Mellon will confer to the student a doctoral degree in Engineering and Public Policy and the Portuguese partner their own degree as noted above. 

Strategy and aims 

The program focus on the idea of technical change and its implication for sustainable development under increasing uncertainty. Engineering and other scientific disciplines have contributed dramatically to technical change but the issue has been studied extensively mainly by economists. Thus, the study of technical change departing from an understanding of the technology is still largely missing, mainly under conditions of uncertainty. Engineers and scientists who develop new technologies understand specific technologies, but often have no interest in exploring their economic and social implications. This raises the need for them to understand technical change (and, therefore, innovation) departing from an understanding of specific technologies, and drawing from the conceptual framework of the interactive models of technical change and risk governance.

The challenge is to establish "technology and policy" as a field of study that focuses on complex engineering systems and products, viewing those systems and products in their broad social and industrial context. This requires faculty from engineering, management, and the social sciences committed to integrative, interdisciplinary engineering systems and policy programs. 

Specific focal themes for advanced doctoral studies include: 

Industrialization, geography and policy: It is important to develop new competencies, at a post-graduation level, on industrial policy and complement generic research on how technical change contributes to productivity together with job creation, with specific analyses of new and advanced manufacturing technologies at the firm and sectorial level. Attention should be focused on knowledge flows along the value chains of emerging industries (e.g., oil & gas; aeronautics; space; biotech), together with the necessary competences and capacities to devise policies to promote a sustainable future. It will include analysis of "technology infrastructures", consisting of science, engineering, and technical knowledge available to industry.

Networked and critical infrastructures, by extending methods developed in the context of more conventional disciplinary problems to issues of both technology and policy, with emphasis on: i) energy systems and their integration with information and communication technologies, giving priority to the integration of renewables in the energy network; and ii) telecom security, giving priority to regulatory frameworks of the ICT sector, which is highly dynamic with new technologies emerging at increasing rates and conflicting interests of operators, manufacturers and costumers affecting the level of competition among different infrastructures, products and services.

Knowledge for development: the idea that investments in S&T can, rather than a cost for governments, be a driver of productivity and innovation in developing societies is now a well-established hypothesis, but lacking empirical testing. Thus, it is important to invest in new competences enabling us to improve our understanding of the mechanisms through which investments in S&T lead to modern societies in developing regions and to help training a new generation of technology and policy leaders for those regions.

Risk governance: Analysis of emerging and systemic risks, facilitating societies to benefit from technical change, while minimizing the negative consequences of associated risks. The focus is on technological risks, as analyzed together with major societal risks. The ultimate goal is to help designing engineering practices to deal with uncertainty (i.e., "design for uncertainty"), including industrialization strategies that consider major opportunities associated with the need to mitigate energy and environment related risks, as well as emerging risks in association with urban concentrations. This includes the discussion of stakeholder engagement processes to help communicating emerging risks and to foster their mitigation.

Regulation and policies towards emerging forms of technological innovation, with emphasis on adaptive regulatory frameworks and including the analysis of new convergence paradigms among health sciences, physical sciences and engineering (i.e., with particular application in bioengineering).


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