• Length:
    3 Weeks
  • Effort:
    1–3 hours per week
  • Price:

    Add a Verified Certificate for $199 USD

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  • Video Transcript:
  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time



About this course

Skip About this course

As public policies become increasingly complex and technical in nature there is a clear need for scientifically informed solutions to major public policy challenges. However, most researchers do not have the training to effectively engage with policymakers.

This short course will provide an essential introduction to the policymaking process through the lens of the U.S. federal government, while providing specific steps researchers can take to engage policy stakeholders and articulate the policy implications of their work. Specifically, it will focus on:

  • Understanding the complex public policy ecosystem, its many stakeholders, and the role research and evidence play in the creation of public policy,
  • Strategies for informing the policymaking community with research results,
  • Developing a pitch for policy audiences, and
  • The importance of building two-way dialogues with policymakers

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Basic understanding of policymaking and policy stakeholders
  • How to identify and prioritize policy stakeholders
  • Practical skills to enage with policymakers

Section I: Overview

  1. Introduction to the course
  2. Ten mistakes scholars make when engaging with policymakers

Section II: The Policy Community

  1. The public policy ecosystem
  2. The Executive Branch
  3. Congress
  4. Congressional 'Asks'
  5. Other Policy Stakeholders

Section III: Strategies for Engagement

  1. Identifying and Prioritizing Stakeholders
  2. Assessing Policy Windows

Section IV: Tactics

  1. Developing a Pitch
  2. Building Relationships with Policymakers
  3. Interview with Professor Lydia Bourouiba

Section V: The Policy Lab

  1. The Policy Lab at the Center for International Studies: A model for enhancing academic engagement in public policy

Meet your instructors

Chappell Lawson
Associate Professor of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daniel Pomeroy
Executive Director, Scientific Citizenship Initiative
Harvard University

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No material is needed to prepare for the course. Related readings and external material will be provided within the course.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.