Responsibility And Integrity in Science & Engineering

PHIL 613  'RAISE: Research Ethics'

Instructors: Thomas M. Powers, DBI and Department of Philosophy, Mark Greene, Department of Philosophy, and William Ullman, School of Marine Science and Policy

Click here to download an application for the 2014 RAISE program.

Ethical issues associated with the integrity of academic science and engineering are increasingly in the public spotlight. These issues include the falsification of experimental results, fabrication of data, conflicts of interest in industry-funded research, plagiarism, vulnerability of whistleblowers, and improper attribution of authorship for collaborators. Since science and engineering are interdisciplinary endeavors, the public perception of impropriety quickly spreads to all of its fields. Since they are global endeavors, norms and expectations need to be broadly applicable, but cultural differences among practitioners, academic hierarchies, pressures to publish, and inattention to the social climate of research present significant challenges to agreement on ethical rules. Difficulties in establishing and enforcing ethical norms and expectations threaten the secure accumulation of knowledge, the public perception of the integrity of academic science and engineering, financial support for scientific research, and acceptance of scientific results.

The RAISE program provides graduate instruction for science and engineering students and post-docs who are currently working in laboratories and other small research groups at the University of Delaware, Newark campus, the College of Marine and Earth Sciences, Lewes campus, and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. RAISE began as an NSF-funded pilot project in 2007 (Grant 0734865), was continued thanks to a UD Graduate Program Improvement and Innovation grant, and is now funded by Delaware EPSCoR with funds from NSF (Grant 0814251). The RAISE program funds and trains advanced graduate students and post-docs as "ethics educators" across the science and engineering fields to provide peer instruction. The training takes place through a seminar-style graduate course led by the RAISE investigators. This training emphasizes the pedagogy of problem-based learning.

Students admitted to the course will meet once a week at DBI for a two-hour seminar, led by the RAISE faculty. Each student will be invited to participate in activities outside of class that are related to research ethics, such as a peer discussion, a discussion session with selected undergraduates, or a lab-group meeting on topics in research ethics.  Small amounts of grant funding are available for these activities. In addition, RAISE students will be eligible for additional support, e.g., for conference travel, workshop funding, or publication expenses. The RAISE course is offered under credit and non-credit options to accommodate students at all stages of their graduate education, including students with "sustaining" status.

 

For questions, please see the application above, or contact Tom Powers (tpowers@udel.edu).

Some Course Materials for PHIL 613

 

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