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Seminars offer Briggs connections for collaborations



Chad Briggs took part in two seminars in Europe over the summer.

Chad Briggs, assistant professor of international relations, attended two important seminars over the summer that reflect the symbiotic relationship between science and policy.

Briggs, a faculty member in the Environmental Initiative and an expert on international environmental policy, focuses on environmental health risks and vulnerabilities in post-conflict Eastern Europe. His work in environmental risk first took him to the London School of Economics (LSE) in June, where he led a seminar on environmental security for 30 government officials and scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

Sponsored by the LSE and the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology, Briggs presented an overview of environmental systems and social resilience and vulnerability. NATO and U.S. Department of Energy officials also participated in the discussion.

From there, Briggs was invited to spend 10 days in Germany and four days in Brussels as part of a Fulbright German Studies Seminar titled “Science and Society: The Impact of Science and Policy Formation.” The seminar was an opportunity for U.S. scholars, such as Briggs, to gain a better understanding of how German and other European nations view the role of science in society.

Professors—17 in total—from across disciplines, including physics, biology, and social policy, contributed to a collective discussion that examined some of the most significant science and policy concerns facing the world today.

“This is an opportunity to give Americans exposure to how others are looking at these topics,” Briggs says. “One of the great things is that we all had different backgrounds and we kept the discussions going well beyond the seminars.”

Meeting first in Berlin, the Fulbright seminar delved into the formation of policies that surround timely, relevant issues to today’s society, including climate change, food technology, genetic technology, stem cell research and education.

“The connections I made with people and the meetings and the briefings will provide long-term opportunities for collaboration,” Briggs says.

In partnership with another Fulbright participant, Jennifer Bath, Briggs has already drafted an article on tropical disease and environmental security. In Brussels, Briggs met with the Joint Research Center, the European Commission’s research-based policy support organization, which sparked a cooperative agreement for further collaboration.

--Tricia Long



Posted on Friday, September 19, 2008

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