Explore the foundation courses and their real-world applications, essential for your future career.

The MPhil in Technology Policy programme’s core courses introduce students to key concepts and tools, building on a firm grounding in economics and policy, ranging from problem framing and systems analysis through to complexity, decision-making under uncertainty and strategic thinking.

Throughout the core courses there is an emphasis on real world applications through case study materials on policy issues in a wide variety of areas (eg information and communications technology, defence and aerospace, energy and electricity, manufacturing, transport and logistics, pharmaceuticals and healththe), taught by senior practitioners from both academic and business backgrounds.

  1. The course introduces some of the central themes of the MPhil in Technology Policy. The emphasis is on policy-related knowledge and skills for those planning careers in the area of technology and policy. We adopt a professional practice approach, which stresses career relevant insights and skills rather than a narrower focus on comprehensive and reflective scholarship. In other words, the purpose is not simply to provide a theoretical foundation in ‘Technology Policy’ although the module builds on analytical and conceptual frameworks. Some specific themes include the role of expertise in policy making, ideological and disciplinary approaches to the policy process, the interaction of technology evolution and regulatory oversight, business-government relations and private sector influence on policy, how globalisation expands and constrains the scope of national regulation, and the future of the rules-based international order. The concepts are discussed in greater detail using cases drawn from each week’s headlines. Through debates and discussion, both in class and on our Technology Policy blog, the students explore the links across technology, regulation, politics, economics and corporate strategy.

The objectives of the course include an introductory understanding of public policy, an appreciation of the processes of policy-making and its analysis, competence in communicating with policy makers, and insights into leadership in technology strategy.

Covering the economic principles behind technology policy and its main instruments, this course equips you with an understanding of the treatment of technology in microeconomics, with its welfare implications. It includes principles of industrial economics to understand where and when policy can be fruitfully applied. It covers selected macroeconomic topics with special emphasis on the role of government expenditure, investment, and growth. The course also includes an examination of the principles behind investment in technology infrastructures that require long term, capital-intensive assets and a degree of state support. The lectures draw on a wide range of sources and cover both theory and empirical studies on the economics of technology policy.

Some of the key topics include the microeconomic and macroeconomic view of technology and innovation, the market failure arguments for technology policy and the production of knowledge, the relationship between technology, innovation and market structure, cumulative innovations, licencing, joint ventures and industrial dynamics, technology diffusion and knowledge spillovers, investment in infrastructures, etc.

This module looks at the practical policy challenges that new technologies pose. Specifically, it consolidates and extends the formal work of the modules Technology Policy: Concepts & Frameworks, and Economics Foundations of Technology Policy, through a series of guest lectures by practicing policy makers in government and business dealing with new technologies such as AI, fintech, healthcare, telecoms, cyber security, autonomous vehicles, digital platforms and others. It gives access to a range of policy-oriented issues that examine the drivers, impacts and consequences of technology and policy developments within and across sectors, countries and regions.

Accordingly, each 2-hour seminar is led by a specialist practitioner and/or academic. Reading is required prior to the seminar to ensure the opportunity for the fullest discussion and active participation.

This module is a survey of 3 distinct yet related forces – business, government and technology – in the context of emerging economies. Each of these forces individually plays an important role in how emerging economies are striving to grow while controlling inequality and ensuring sustainability. Increasingly these forces also interact with each other in both positive and negative, predictable and unanticipated ways.

This course includes case studies pertaining to the role of business, government and technology in emerging markets. By engaging in discussion on such issues we develop a perspective in which to analyse such issues. We familiarise ourselves with key concepts and opposing arguments that are often overlooked in popular media.

The course takes an interdisciplinary perspective and attempts to help students develop their skills as researchers in these areas as well as formulate and inform policy on these topics. Having completed the course, students should be able to knowledgably review and evaluate academic and policy papers on topics related to business, government and technology in emerging economies.

The fundamental aim of the course is to study the formal assessment of policy proposals (how to do a social cost benefit analysis (SCBA), and also how to read impact assessments and government SCBAs of policy and challenge them appropriately).

The first half of the course covers how to do the analysis – evaluation of outputs, inputs and their discounting – looking at how to handle risk and distributional issues within the analysis and going on to examine a number of case studies.

The second half focuses on applied econometric methods that are used in evaluating the impacts of programmes/policies. Through case studies students are equipped with a clear understanding of the data requirements, assumptions, and types of conclusions that can be drawn from randomised and natural experiments, difference-in-difference analysis, regression discontinuity design approaches, and instrumental variable estimation.

The course considers how technology innovation and regulations are shaped through the interplay of the key actors including governments, firms and civil society using the European Union as a case study. The course involves both standard lectures and a field trip to the European Union institutions for meetings with European parliamentarians, Commission officials and others involved in European technology policy. To be clear, by ‘European technology policy’, we imply both technology policy at the European level (which as we will discuss is not simply EU versus non-EU, there are many ‘European’ organisations that are not restricted to EU member states) as well technology policy of EU member states and other European nations.

This module provides you with a better understanding of the role of European institutions in shaping policy on issues across a range of sectors including ICT, energy, transport, trade, development, defence, research and development and education. You are exposed to European policy-makers drawn from across a range of perspectives, sectors, institutions and ideologies. It also investigates in depth a specific area of technology policy that falls within the broad remit of European science and technology policy.