Becoming the Online Resource Center for Ethics Education in Engineering and Science

Project Status
June 28, 2019

National Science Foundation

Press Release

Online Ethics Center
Online Ethic Center homepage
The Online Ethics Center provides information, case studies, and resources on ethics in engineering and science.
This project expands the National Academy of Engineering’s Online Ethics Center (OEC) to be the go-to online source for these critical resources and support for ethics and ethics education in science and engineering.

Responsible science and engineering require attention to ethics and social justice. Ignoring these concerns can undermine research efforts and the social institutions that sustain them and lead to unintended and undesirable outcomes. As science and engineering become more multidisciplinary, global, and complex, it is increasingly important that scientists and engineers actively consider not only the practical (“Can this be done?”) but also the ethical questions (“Should this be done?” “Who should make that decision?”). Current, dynamic resources are needed to help them examine such questions and to teach students about ethics in engineering and science.

This project expands and upgrades the National Academy of Engineering’s Online Ethics Center (OEC) to be the go-to online source of critical resources and support for ethics education in both science and engineering. Redesigned and augmented content (e.g., enhanced with new pedagogical resources and ethical commentaries) as well as the collection of new content will provide information for practitioners, educators, and students about ethical, social justice, diversity, and globalization considerations associated with science and engineering. Content editorial boards in six areas are reviewing, identifying, and developing materials and working with various communities to meet their needs. Co-PI Karin Ellison from Arizona State University will lead the way with her plans for the Life and Environmental Sciences Editorial Board. The Content Editorial Boards are:

The project is also redesigning and strengthening technical and communal aspects of the site that support both the resource collection and the community of users and authors. The new site will offer expanded searching abilities and other updated features as well as a new users’ community that will connect author profiles to resources and enable users to comment on the value of resources. Collaboration with the Ethics Education Library (EEL) of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology will provide access to a wider array of materials and promote interactions with other repositories of ethics-related information.

This five-year project, undertaken with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, is funded by the National Science Foundation and overseen by an advisory committee that includes leaders in ethics, the sciences, and engineering.