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liberal order, and concludes that “This argument made a lot of people uncomfortable, mostly because of an endemic and gross overestimation of the reach, depth and attractiveness of the existing liberal order” ()Over the past decade, the “cult of irrelevance” in political sciencescholarship has been lamented by a growing chorus(Putnam 2003; Nye 2009; Walt 2009). Prominent scholarsof international affairs have diagnosedthe roots of the gapbetween academia and policymaking, made the case for whypolitical science research is valuable for policymaking, and offereda number of ideasfor enhancing the policy relevance of scholarship in international relations and comparative politics (Walt 2005,2011; Mead 2010; Van Evera 2010; Jentleson and Ratner 2011; Gallucci 2012; Avey and Desch 2014). Building on these insights, several initiatives have been formedin the attempt to “bridge the gap.”2 Manyof the specific efforts put in place by these projects focus on providing scholars with the skills, platforms, and networks to better communicatethe findings and implicationsof their research to the policymaking community, a necessary and worthwhile objective for a field in which theoretical debates, methodological training, and publishing norms tend more and more toward the abstract and esoteric.Yet enhancing communicationbetween scholars and policymakers is only one componentof bridging the gap between international affairs theory and practice. Anothercrucial component of this bridge is the generation of substantive research programs that are actually policy relevant—a challenge to which less concerted attention has been paid. The dual challenges of bridging the gap are especially acute for graduate students, a particular irony since many enter the discipline with the explicit hope of informing policy. In a field that has an admirable devotion to pedagogical self-reflection, strikingly little attention is paid to techniques for generating policy-relevant ideasfordissertation and other research topics. Although numerous articles and conference workshops are devoted to the importance of experiential and problem-based learning, especially through techniques of simulation that emulate policymaking processes (Loggins 2009; Butcher 2012; Glasgow 2012; Rothman 2012; DiCicco 2014), little has been written about the use of such techniques for generating and developing innovative research ideas.This article outlines an experiential and problem-based approach todeveloping a political science researchprogram using scenario analysis. It focuses especially on illuminating the research generation and pedagogical benefits of this technique by describing the use of scenarios in the annual New Era Foreign Policy Conference (NEFPC), which brings together doctoral students of international and comparative affairs who share a demonstrated interest in policy-relevant scholarship.3 In the introductory section, the article outlines the practice ofscenario analysis and considers the utility of the technique in political science. We argue that scenario analysis should be viewed as a tool to stimulate problem-based learning for doctoral students and discuss the broader scholarly