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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Stanford University
  • Margaret Levi
  • (206) 849-8222
  • Michael Bernstein
Award Date:06/15/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 399,508
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 399,508
  • FY 2021=$399,508
Start Date:08/01/2021
End Date:07/31/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Developing an Ethics and Society Review for Research
Federal Award ID Number:2124734
DUNS ID:009214214
Parent DUNS ID:009214214
Program:ER2-Ethical & Responsible Res
Program Officer:
  • Wenda K. Bauchspies
  • (703) 292-5034

Awardee Location

Street:450 Jane Stanford Way
Awardee Cong. District:18

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Stanford University
Street:450 Jane Stanford Way
Cong. District:18

Abstract at Time of Award

With the advent of new technologies and methodologies, academic research has been routinely criticized for its negative impacts on society. We lack adequate institutional responses to this responsibility: the crux of the criticism of such research often falls outside the purview of existing research mechanisms such as the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which are designed to evaluate harms to human subjects rather than harms to human society. In response, we are developing the Ethics and Society Review (ESR), a feedback panel that works with researchers to mitigate negative ethical and societal aspects of research. The ESR's main insight is to serve as a requirement for funding: researchers cannot receive grant funding from major funding programs at our university until the researchers complete the ESR process for the proposal. In this proposal we describe a new set of institutional arrangements: the Ethics and Society Review (ESR). The goals of the ESR are to: (1) design a process that involves ethicists, social scientists and technologists in providing productive feedback to research projects at their proposal stage; (2) integrate that process as a requirement to receive funds from three major on-campus grant-giving institute; (3) gather evidence from grant PIs and ESR panelists as to the effectiveness of the process for changing researchers attitudes and behaviors toward research ethics. For many researchers, the task of considering the broad ethical and societal effects of their research, outside of research participants, is foreign. Therefore, our first objective is to develop improved guidelines for researchers and ESR panelists to reflect on the ethical and societal impacts of proposed research. To do this, we will utilize a combination of additional literature reviews, process feedback from the pilot program survey and interviews, and PIs’ own experience. Our second objective is to use the learnings from our pilot program to design and implement a revised version of the ESR at three on-campus funding organizations. The deployment of the program will occur over three years, during which time we will collect data on the ESR process for our evaluation. Our third and final objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of individual components of the ESR as well as its ability to engender cultural change within existing institutional structures around ethics in research. To do this, we will use a stepped wedge trial design (SWT). This objective will allow the ESR to determine the effect each aspect of the ESR process has on researchers’ attitudes and behaviors regarding ethics. With that information, we will be able to further improve the ESR process and promote the ESR as a mechanism for cultural change around this topic. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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