The Rock Ethics Institute

Initiatives

Ethics in the NSF Merit Criteria

This module looks in-depth at the first and second criteria of the National Science Foundation merit review process for evaluating grants. Criterion 1: What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? Criterion 2: What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? These two criteria require a proposal to demonstrate that the research team be capable of producing “good science,” but also to describe how the proposed research also addresses concerns about “science for the good of.” This module is intended for scientists planning to write proposals at some point during their career and would be appropriate for a graduate research seminar or grant writing workshop. 

Ethical issues covered include:

  1. Aspects of good scientific practice
  2. Considering broader impacts of research 
    • Promoting teaching and learning
    • Dissemination of results
  3. Aspects of science for the good of 
    • Distributive justice
    • Inter-generational considerations
    • Precautionary Principle
    • Enhancing social capacity