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Emerging Technology Policy Writing Competition


The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) are seeking student submissions to the inaugural emerging technology policy writing competition. As emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence profoundly shape every aspect of our lives, managing their social impacts has become a top priority for many policymakers. Succinct, effective, and evidence-based policy writing can help policymakers map out a human-centric approach to the safe, responsible development and deployment of those technologies. This year’s competition focuses on the future of work. We are looking for innovative policy analysis and solutions that leverage emerging technologies for the creation of jobs.

emerging technology


The competition is open to Stanford graduate students from any discipline (i.e. computer science,
engineering, social science, etc.) who are interested in developing policy-related knowledge and skills
and whose research area intersects with emerging technologies.

Interested students should submit an abstract (no longer than 300 words) of their research
proposal by Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Upon selection, candidates will be paired into teams of
two where members across fields (e.g., social science, humanities, and STEM) are represented. The teams
will work with advisers to develop policy briefs via a series of workshops and editorial processes.

Why enter?

The goal of this competition is to help students develop policy writing skills, foster inter- and multidisciplinary research conversations on emerging technologies, and facilitate collaborations across fields. Winners will be announced in early September, and the three winning teams will receive a total of $10,000 in cash prizes. Further, the winners will publish their final products as Stanford HAI and Stanford Digital Economy Lab policy briefs.

>>> $5,000 1st Place
>> $3,000 2nd Place
> $2,000 3rd Place


Developing business models and technology policies that drive job growth is an essential and urgent task as the next generation of technologies will create massive labor market disruptions: Some jobs will become obsolete, others will transform considerably, and entirely new jobs will be created. While much has been studied about how technologies may displace jobs, less attention has been paid to how to catalyze the direction of commercialization of those technologies to create jobs—particularly for low- to middle-wage workers without college degrees.

Abstracts and final policy briefs should assess the effect of a particular technology (from the list below) on the future of work—specifically, its current state of commercialization and impact on jobs; and the policies and business models that may be needed to enable the creation of jobs, build equity in the labor market, and promote democratic values.

  • Artificial intelligence (including applications and methodologies)
  • Robotics and autonomous vehicles (including drones)
  • Advance communications infrastructure such as 5G and Web3.0
  • Quantum computing
  • XR and metaverse

This competition is supported by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, and a gift from the Markle Foundation.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the competition’s timeline? Submissions of abstracts are due July 6, 2022. Selected candidates are notified by July 17, 2022, and will work with advisers over the subsequent seven weeks to workshop their ideas and write policy briefs. Winning teams will be announced in early September.

Can I work on this alone? No. Candidates can submit initial abstracts individually, but upon submission, selections will be assigned to teams of two where members across fields (e.g., social science, humanities, and STEM) work on policy briefs together. As in the real world, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary efforts are crucial to tackling challenging policy questions related to emerging technologies.

What is a policy brief? A policy brief is a concise summary of information on a particular issue with analysis and recommendations to equip policymakers with the knowledge needed to think critically about and make decisions on said issue. A high-quality policy brief uses clear language to help non-specialist readers understand the thrust of a subject matter, communicating the practical implications of research to the policy audience. Find examples of HAI policy briefs.

What makes for effective policy writing? Good policy writing is clear, concise, and engaging to read. Recommendations or bottom lines appear up-front so readers immediately grasp what the essential takeaways are. Read the Stanford HAI policy writing and style guidelines.

How will policy briefs be evaluated? The jury will evaluate each brief based on its writing, analysis, and recommendations. Successful briefs should assess the technology from an analytical perspective, research its opportunities and challenges, diagnose its effect and implications, and recommend innovative interventions to positively steer its impact on job creation.

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