Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
Hilton Simmet

Hilton Simmet

hilton_simmet (at)

Hilton Simmet is a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy and a Research Associate with the STS Program at Harvard Kennedy School. In 2021-22 he was a graduate fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. For the 2022-23 academic year he has been awarded a Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship from Harvard for study in France and India.

Hilton’s interests center on the relationship between political theory and public policy, with a particular focus on the role of economics in defining contemporary ideas of justice and progress. His dissertation research asks how the social sciences of poverty, inequality and development address the politics of justice in comparative context. In particular, he examines how diverse social science methods—randomized control trials (RCTs), historical data collection, and citizen engagement—navigate the boundary between scientific analysis and political action in the US, France and India. Through this work he hopes to understand how the quantitative social sciences turn normative problems of social justice into technical problems amenable to public policy solutions.

In prior work, Hilton has studied environment and innovation policy in several cities and countries, including Dakar (Senegal), Berlin (Germany) and Bangalore (India) for the National Science Foundation-funded project “Traveling Imaginaries: A Comparative Study of Three Models of Innovation in Transnational Implementation,” as well as the “Transformations to Sustainability (T2S)” project funded by the Belmont Forum. He is contributing to an edited book with Cambridge University Press on quantification and transparency in political science. He is also considering political thought related to science, technology and development outside the Western canon, including thinkers from the global South such as Rabindranath Tagore and Léopold Sédar Senghor.

Hilton holds an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard College and an M.A. in Political Science from Yale University. He was a 2015-16 Fulbright Fellow in Senegal, West Africa.



Amat C, Aronow P, Bardelli T, Kalla J, & SIMMET H (forthcoming) The Construction of Quantitative Evidence in Political Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SIMMET H (under review) Beyond the Citizen-Procedure-Outcome Triangle: Constructivism and the expertise of political theory, Social Studies of Science.

Jasanoff S & SIMMET H (2021) Renewing the future: Imaginaries and actualities of global energy transition. Energy Research and Social Science. Vol. 80 Special Section on Perspectives on STS, 102205.

SIMMET H (2018) Lighting a dark continent: Imaginaries of energy transition in Senegal. Energy Research and Social Science. Vol. 40, pp. 71-81.

Jasanoff S & SIMMET H (2017) No funeral bells: Public reason in a ‘post-truth’ age. Social Studies of Science. Vol. 47(5), pp. 751-770.