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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Notre Dame
  • Mark L Bourgeois
  • (574) 631-1743
  • John Lubker
  • Laura A Carlson
Award Date:09/16/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 295,787
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 295,787
  • FY 2019=$295,787
Start Date:10/01/2019
End Date:09/30/2022
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:Standard: Cultivating Foundations for Responsible Innovation
Federal Award ID Number:1926280
DUNS ID:824910376
Parent DUNS ID:048994727
Program:Cultivating Cultures of Ethica
Program Officer:
  • John Parker
  • (703) 292-5034

Awardee Location

Street:940 Grace Hall
County:Notre Dame
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Notre Dame
Street:940 Grace Hall
City:Notre Dame
County:Notre Dame
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

Traditional research ethics training is premised on the idea that a researcher is responsible only for the ethical conduct of their research. This project supplements that foundation to add consideration of the social consequences - and the ethical meaning - of introducing potentially disruptive innovations to society. Increasingly, the public expects scientists and engineers to take into account the potential social and ethical ramifications of the innovations they develop. Whether in industry or academia, it is no longer considered enough to focus narrowly on the technical breakthroughs and leave the rest of society to deal with the implications - implications that often become apparent only after the innovation has been deployed. But what might more thoughtful development approaches look like in practice? And can they be made practical? Work on the nascent concept of Responsible Innovation attempts to answer these questions. This project furthers this research by testing and innovating on existing concepts of RI while also providing training in Responsible Innovation to an interdisciplinary cohort of graduate students and postdocs. In turn, this cohort helps to guide a selection of actual emerging innovations as test cases. For each of its three years, this project recruits a cohort of 9-12 graduate students and postdocs (organized into small teams of 3-4) drawn not only from the natural sciences and engineering, but also from the social sciences and humanities. In the first half of each year, these recruits are trained in existing frameworks for Responsible Innovation (RI) as well as the skills, like anticipation, communication, and leadership, which enable it. As they work through this literature from their different disciplinary perspectives, they also critique and contribute new ideas and insights to this emerging area, with each team arriving at their own working approach to RI. In the second half of each year, the trainees are connected to a real-world commercialization project through Notre Dame's technology transfer and incubation hub, the IDEA Center. The teams then implement their Responsible Innovation concept as consultants to an actual innovation project. This provides a valuable service to that project while also serving as a practical test of their ideas. In the final phase of each year, the teams write up their findings from this experience for publication, contributing new ideas and reporting their real-world experience with them. This approach allows four valuable goals to be pursued simultaneously: 1. Train students and researchers in the latest thinking on Responsible Innovation; 2. Put social scientists, humanists, engineers, and natural scientists into conversation with one another about the social and ethical impacts of science and technology research; 3. Contribute new approaches and refinements of Responsible Innovation by engaging a wider array of researchers who evaluate and test its real-world utility; 4. Help inform and guide a selection of local, real-world innovation projects. 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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