Bridging Science and Policy in the Sustainable Development Era

Bridging Science and Policy in the Sustainable Development Era

The 2018 Polson Institute

 'Future of Development' Symposium

Ithaca, New York

May 11, 2018



Join us on May 11 in Ithaca, New York to explore how science and policy intersect in driving global sustainable development.

This Symposium is the first in a new series of events, led by the Polson Institute, that will explore topics that define the 'Future of Development'.  By bringing critical voices into dialogue with practitioners and policy-makers, the series is creating opportunities to think through the social and political challenges that influence the effectiveness and fairness of global development. 


Schedule of Events

& Panel Discussions

The 2018 symposium, ‘Bridging Science and Policy in the Sustainable Development Era’, addresses the commitments of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to - “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet.” With seventeen ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, how do we develop robust and measurable indicators that can keep us accountable to our commitments? And yet at the same time, how might we be sensitive to the social and political factors that shape how knowledge is created, shared, and used? We'll be exploring these questions through six discussion panels of leading thinkers and practitioners of sustainable development over a full day of ideas and conversation.


What does evidence mean?  What are the societal gains of evidence-based policy?


How can we better attend to questions of power, representation, and identity in examining how both scientific evidence and policy are produced?


In an era of doubt, what does transdisciplinary research look like?  How can researchers and policy makers advance better outcomes for all, amidst changing structures of validity and accountability?


What are the social, cultural, linguistic, and political dimensions of translation between scientific, policy, and development communities?




The symposium will bring together speakers representing multiple geographies and disciplines, from nonprofits and community organizations to academia, think tanks, and beyond.


Dr. Eeva Furman

Professor and Director of the Environment Policy Centre, Finnish Environment Institute


Dr. Farhana Sultana

Research Director for Environmental Collaboration and Conflicts, PARCC, Syracuse University


Chad Shipmaker

Senior Consultant, Global Health Visions



The Details

Join us!



Please register here.  This event is free and open to all, but we kindly ask that you register in order for us to plan appropriately.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided.


Klarman Auditorium KG70

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Date and Time

Friday, May 11, 2018

8:30 am - 5:30 pm

There is a need for open minds, too, in the use of quantification and model building. There is an extraordinary schism between two self-perceived epistomological camps, the one which measures, creates its own data and uses others’ in model building, and the other which calls itself ‘radical’ and eschews analysis of this sort as positivist, and the data as ideologically tainted and reductionist. Whilst [we show that] data do not simply exist but rather are constructed, [we] also argue strongly for technically better and more ideologically aware measurement of process, costs and benefits ... Open minds assist in clarifying and sharing objectives.
— Piers Bla1kie and Harold Brookfield