The S&T Policy Division consists of the six academic centers at the Institute as well as develops meaningful science and technology policy recommendations for the federal government. Currently, the S&T Policy Division includes the Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought, Center for Adaptation and Innovation, International Center for Terrorism Studies, Regulatory Science and Engineering Center, Center for Neurotechnology Studies and a center on Cyber Readiness. Contracts covered in this center include strategic planning for the Defense Microelectronics Activity, policy, research and outreach for the Corrosion Policy and Oversight office, and technology trends and acquisition strategy for the Rapid Reaction Technology Office. The work in these centers and contracts covers a range of topics and products. More information can be found on the websites for each center.


Establishing the RSEC

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS) is a non-profit independent organization devoted to the development of meaningful policy options and ensuring their implementation at the intersection of business and government.  The Institute bases their approach on information gained from discussions, analysis, and data concerning science, technology, and national security issues facing our society.  Science and technology (S&T) are needed to support the development of good policy, and the Institute understands this.  It promotes and assists in the use of sound S&T to guide policies that are developed and implemented by both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. For the Institute to continue to be successful in its mission it must remain committed to helping foster the development of leading S&T policy for the betterment of society.

PIPS roots in S&T policy have been founded in the legislative branch since its inception, as it grew out of the Congressional Office of Technology and Assessment.  Over time, more of the Institute’s S&T policy work began to involve various levels of the executive branch.  The Institute recently recognized a need for the study of regulatory policy processes.  Since 1976, when the Office of the Federal Register made the number of documents published in the final rules section of the Federal Register first available, there have been 184,342 final rule documents published.  In that same amount of time, there have been 9,539 bills turned into law by Congress.  Over that same amount of time, the number of pages published in the Federal Register regarding Final Rules has increased by approximately 300 pages per year.  The number of pages continues to increase despite the fact the number of actual Final Rules in the Federal Register has slightly decreased over the last 20 years.  Furthermore, since 1980 there have been 4 major Acts passed by Congress and at least 5 Executive Orders that provide additional rules and exceptions to the regulatory process.  It seems obvious the mechanisms that drive the regulatory process are inefficient and could benefit from a more science-based approach.

Applying a science-based approach to the process of creating and implementing regulation is known as regulatory science and engineering, most often just referred to as regulatory science.  The field of regulatory science is focused on identifying appropriate frameworks to instill the best available science and engineering practices into the process of developing and implementing beneficial regulation policy. Regulatory science and engineering can be defined thusly: a distinct scientific discipline that constitutes the foundation of regulatory, legislative, and judicial decisions. Regulatory science and engineering is both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in that it relies upon many basic and applied scientific disciplines, from ABC to XYZ.  Currently, the application of regulatory science during the regulatory process only occurs within the FDA.  Given the inefficiencies in the current Federal regulatory system it seems clear incorporating the application of regulatory science to the regulatory process is worth considering.

In response to this observation, the Institute identified the need for a center whose vision was to become the center of excellence in the U.S. on regulatory policy.  The Regulatory Science & Engineering Center (RSEC) is the Institute’s response to this demand.  RSEC serves to study and influence the regulatory process by incorporating the best available science and engineering practices into its policy recommendations.  Like PIPS, RSEC will only be successful in its mission if it continues to help foster the development of leading S&T regulatory policy for the betterment of society.

About The Center for Neurotechnology Studies
The Center for Neurotechnology Studies (CNS) is directed by Dr. Jennifer Buss. CNS provides neutral, in-depth analysis of matters at the intersection of neuroscience and technology—neurotechnology—and public policy. The Center anticipates legal, and social issues associated with emerging neurotechnology, and shepherds constructive discourse on these issues. It provides a forum for reasoned consideration of issues both by subject area experts and by the public. The Center partners with the research community for discourse and consultation on sound neurotechnology research and applications. The Center cultivates and stewards knowledge and discussion on the implications of neurotechnology in academic, administrative, entrepreneurial, regulatory, legislative and judicial enterprises. CNS serves as authoritative counsel to government agencies pursuing neurotechnology by providing expertise in the sciences, law, and social policy.

Activities of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies

The Center actively shepherds research and public debate on neurotechnology, and advises public and private sectors working to study and develop neuroscience and technology. These objectives are achieved through:

Research: CNS is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the foci, use, and impact(s) of neurotechnology, particularly as relates to legal and social issues arising in and from this field.

Workshops/Seminars: CNS hosts lectures, seminars, and other activities to address development and issues of neurotechnology.

Briefings: The Center informs policy-makers and agency personnel on emerging scientific, legal, and social issues related to the development and implementation of neurotechnologies.

Publications: The Center publishes papers on all aspects of neurotechnology in monographs, specialized journals, and the popular press. This contribution to the public debate fosters a broader and deeper understanding, and helps to shape a more reasoned and productive dialogue on these issues.



National economic growth is deeply dependent upon the secure utilization of information communication technology (ICT) and the health of the overall Internet economy.  Countries are pursuing development and modernization initiatives to nurture their respective national information societies in the digital age by increasing their productivity, enhancing work force skills, driving innovation, and delivering gross domestic product (GDP) growth.  At present, there is no single methodology to evaluate any particular country’s maturity and commitment to securing their respective cyber infrastructure.  The Cyber Readiness Index seeks to fill that void.

The Cyber Readiness Index documents the core components of cyber readiness:

  • National strategy
  • Incident response
  • E-crime and law enforcement
  • Information sharing
  • Investment in Research and Development
  • Diplomatic engagement/ influence
  • Ability to respond militarily in a crisis situation