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Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities

Fiscal Year 2011 Seed Grants for Collaborative Work Award




Promoting Ethical and Effective Communication of Science in Policy Controversies


Global climate change, nanotechnology, genetically modified crops all have sparked pressing policy issues with a substantial scientific component. The responsibility of scientists to contribute their knowledge towards the successful management of such issues is well established, with the National Science Foundation and many disciplinary organizations calling on scientists to engage more fully with policy-makers and the public. The scientist who attempts to fulfill these responsibilities, however, can become enmeshed in the often-heated controversies that are characteristic of American democracy. Failure to communicate appropriately in the midst of controversy can lead to perceptions that science is being politicized. The integrity of the researcher -- and even the integrity of science itself can become a focus of debate. To realize the full potential of science in our civic life, there is therefore a critical need for scientists and citizens to develop deeper understandings of the ethics of science communication within policy controversies.

This team consists of humanities and social faculty whose diverse research programs have converged on and interest in the intersection of science and policy. Their collaborative scholarship aims to deepen understanding of the appropriate communicative roles scientists can take in policy-making, as well as the approaches citizens can use to assess scientific messages. They also look forward to using their research to support the efforts of scientists who want to contribute to policy controversies.



 


Student Opportunities

Phyllis J. Lepke Endowed Graduate Award
Deadline: Closed