Workshop Proposal: Transformative Research: Social and Ethical Implications

Project: Research project

Project Details


This research workshop explores potentially transformative research (PTR), a concept that plays an important role in policy debates, and in public discourse about the future of science in society. This workshop will bring together a group of policy makers, and prominent researchers in order to:

- Identify gaps in our current thinking about PTR

- Provide greater conceptual clarity to the complex of issues surrounding calls for NSF to better promote 'potentially transformative' research

- Develop a research agenda that goes beyond the typical intradisciplinary engagement of scholars with scholars on areas of interest only to those scholars.

Intellectual merit

This workshop will contribute to ongoing research in the fields of a) the history and philosophy of science, b) psychology of science, and c) science of science and innovation policy. Participants will continue and deepen investigations previously initiated by the National Science Board (NSB), as well as widening the discussion of three previous workshops organized by the PI and co-PI regarding the incorporation of societal impacts considerations into the peer review process. The workshop will also outline empirical strategies that may be fruitfully applied to the study of transformative research. Finally, this workshop not only addresses potentially transformative research, but also explores a novel way of organizing workshops by bringing together practitioners, policy makers, and scholars for a conversation.

Broader impact

This workshop will contribute to ongoing discussions on whether and how to fund high-risk, high-reward research. The organizers conducted a workshopn on the incorporation of societal impacts considerations into the peer review process, especially NSF's Broader Impacts Criterion, and have a track record of disseminating their findings to policy makers, both at federal agencies and in Congress, as well as making them available to scholars.

Effective start/end date6/1/115/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $54,642.00


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