PRIM&R joins the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to create a national center for professional and research ethics

PRIM&R is thrilled to announce that we will be working with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) on a multi-year project designed to make ethics information and training resources readily accessible to those working in the fields of science and engineering. This five-year, $5 million grant was awarded to UIUC by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The online center, which will be called the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, will develop, gather, preserve, and provide comprehensive access to resources related to ethics for teachers, students, researchers, administrators, and other audiences. As such, it will provide information and expertise for several populations, including:

  • instructors who teach ethics,
  • students with questions about research integrity,
  • researchers and engineers who encounter ethical challenges in practice, administrators in universities and businesses who oversee ethics and compliance policies,
  • scholars who conduct research on professional and research ethics, and
  • others with questions or interests in these areas.

“Almost everybody wakes up every day and wants to do the right thing,” said Center director C. K. Gunsalus, Coordinated Science Laboratory research professor and professor of business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as longtime friend of PRIM&R. “Many people who face ethical dilemmas know the general principles but not necessarily how to apply them in the complexity that real-life professional and research practice present. The Center seeks to create an online environment that encourages the life-long development of ethical practices through materials and interaction with other professionals.”PRIM&R’s role will be small but, we hope, significant, as we will be involved in the development and coordination of human and animal research ethics resources. The planning process has just begun, and we look forward to sharing more details here soon as we begin working on the project. We also look forward to hear more from our community about what resources are missing from the current “cupboard,” so that we can more responsively fill the void.PRIM&R’s executive director, Joan Rachlin, is thilled about our involvement in this project and believes that it will provide a unique opportunity to connect the many ethical and educational threads that already exist, and to at the same time identify and integrate new ones. PRIM&R is proud to be a member of this team, and we look forward to the development of this exciting Center.Read more about the grant award in the NSF press release.