Annual Institute

Call for Proposals: 2021 Society of Policy Scientists Annual Institute

Hosted by Claremont McKenna College
November 18-20, 2021

The 2021 Society of Policy Sciences Annual Institute (SPSAI) will be convened in person at Claremont McKenna College with the option of participating via Zoom. The 2020 SPSAI Call for Proposals underscored “what distinguishes the policy sciences from many other social science frameworks is its insistence on anchoring both theory and practice in the problem orientation.”  The theme of this year’s Institute is Policy Sciences for Complex Problem-Solving. 

The complex problems looming over last year’s Institute persist this year: the pandemic, the vulnerability to violence experienced by disadvantaged groups, the rise of nativism, and global climate change. Policy Scientists understand that a problem is a discrepancy between how decisions could be made in the common interest and a prediction of how they will be made, based on current trends and conditioning factors. Moreover, discrepancies can exist between the common interest as a policy scientist defines it and how decisions may be based on prevailing expectations of authority and control
(e. g., the application of law may lead to outcomes that are incompatible with human dignity). Complexity, as the central problem, is an extreme discrepancy between preferences and expectations variously described as wicked, ill-structured and irreducible. This is deeply engaged with human values. An intrinsic task for the Policy Scientist is relating such problematic situations to the overriding value goals of the public order system.

We invite individual and interdisciplinary panel proposals that apply the Policy Sciences framework to complex problems. Classic works can be found here:

Topics and problem applications, by no means exhaustive, include:

Decision Process: Structures of Decision and Function Failures, Adaptive Governance, Policy Sciences Pedagogy, Decision Seminar applications  

Security: Personal Insecurity, Social Cohesion/Fragmentation and Political Myth, War and Post-War Contexts, Outer Space, Cyber Security

Human Rights: Civil Rights, Migration, Refugees, Indigenous Peoples  

Environmental Degradation:  Climate Change, Conservation 

International Development: Poverty Alleviation, Foreign Assistance, Policy Reform

International Law: World Constitutive Process of Authoritative Decision

Oceans: Access and Control, Maritime Boundaries, Resource Exploration and Exploitation

Public Health: Pandemics, Food, Nutrition, Water

Science Policy: Role in Authoritative Decisions, Integration ofNatural and Social Sciences 

Please submit proposals via

Proposal Guidelines & Selection

We are seeking proposals from scholars, practitioners and students from social sciences, natural sciences and law at various career stages. We welcome proposals of work completed, published, or in development. Society membership is not a requirement for proposal submission and participation in the Annual Institute. Proposals should be no more than one page. Please include a short description of your research topic and potential developmental constructs that may apply to your work. We ask that you provide the institutional affiliation, preferred title, and email contact for each author. 

Submissions will be reviewed beginning July 31 with final decisions made by August 31. The Committee will consider and accept proposals on a rolling basis, until all presentation slots are allocated.

Questions? Please contact [email protected].
Please submit proposals via