National Academy of Engineering Code of Conduct

Revision to Item #5 September 23, 2019 and October 4, 2019


The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private, independent, nonprofit institution whose mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and operates under the congressional act that established the National Academy of Sciences, signed into law in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

The NAE has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and international members: senior professionals in business, academia, and government who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers. They provide the leadership and expertise for numerous projects focused on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. The leadership of the field provided by the NAE, and the credibility of the expertise offered by the NAE, rest on its reputation, which cannot be distinguished from the reputation of its members. Therefore, membership in the NAE is a privilege predicated on its members adhering to the highest professional, including ethical standards. Members are requested to visit NAE’s Center for Engineering Ethics and Society website (www.onlineethics.org/).1

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR NAE MEMBERS and INTERNATIONAL MEMBERS

NAE members and international members shall conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, and ethically so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and utility of the engineering profession. NAE members and international members shall be guided in all their relations by the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

NAE members and international members shall not commit professional misconduct2 or research misconduct.3 NAE members and international members shall promptly move to correct the record and/ or their engineering products when errors are detected in their own work.

NAE members and international members shall not engage in discrimination,4 harassment,5 or bullying.6 These behaviors interfere with or sabotage engineering activities and careers, and create a hostile environment that reduces the quality, integrity, and pace of the advancement of engineering and technology by marginalizing individuals and communities, and preventing the healthy exchange of ideas.7

NAE members and international members shall disclose all relevant relationships, financial or otherwise, that could influence, or could reasonably be perceived to influence, the outcome of their engineering counsel, studies, professional engineering practice, or participation in specific NAE or NASEM activities.

NAE members and international members may take positions in their personal capacity and use their NAE affiliation. They may not present themselves as representing the NAE nor represent any position not stated in an NAE/NASEM document as being that of the NAE without explicit prior approval of the NAE president, or in his/her absence the executive officer.

Using substantiated information that is available to the general public, the NAE Council will assume responsibility to determine whether alleged misconduct can potentially impair the mission, image, or reputation of the NAE. The NAE will not undertake independent investigations of allegations.

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1The National Academy of Engineering Online Ethics Center (https://www.onlineethics.org/NSPE-code-of-ethics.aspx); Engineering World Federation of Engineering Organizations Code of Ethics (https://www.onlineethics.org/WFEO-code-of-ethics.aspx).

2Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN, 1990, p. 959: “Professional misconduct or unreasonable lack of skill - Failure of one rendering professional services to exercise that degree of skill and learning commonly applied under all the circumstances in the community by the average prudent reputable member of the profession with the result of injury, loss, or harm to the recipient of those services or to those entitled to rely upon them. Professional misconduct includes infidelity in professional or fiduciary duties, evil practice, and illegal or immoral conduct.”

3National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Fostering Integrity in Research. Washington: National Academies Press (https://doi.org/10.17226/21896). Research misconduct is defined as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reporting research.”

4Discrimination is defined as prejudicial treatment of individuals or groups of people based on any characteristics protected by applicable laws.

5Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Other types of harassment include any verbal or physical conduct directed at individuals or groups of people because of their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

6Bullying is unwelcome, aggressive behavior involving the use of influence, threat, intimidation, or coercion to dominate others in the professional environment.

7National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington: National Academies Press (www.nationalacademies.org/sexualharassment).