IN THE SPOTLIGHT
New Graduate Student Group Supports Cross Disciplinary Collaboration
The Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement (IECE) recently awarded a seed grant through the graduate school to support a new interdisciplinary graduate student organization, the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy (FOSEP). The goal of the organization is to foster “civic scholars” on campus, to stimulate multidisciplinary discussions on issues at the intersection of science and society, and to engage with the public and policy makers at national and local levels.
The group formed in fall semester of 2009 under the initiation of Ursula Kay Rick, professional research assistant at CIRES, and research associate for CIMB, Melanie Roberts. “Some graduate students were already meeting informally, and we wanted to support more interdisciplinary work,” said Rick. “FOSEP brings together people who are familiar with all sides of and issue to discuss and understand society, policy and the intersection of science.”
FOSEP has already demonstrated great initiative, enthusiasm and successes. Discussions around ethics and how science is practiced have helped to pave the way for meeting NSF grant requirements in terms of responsible conduct of research training, and learning the process of choosing a balanced panel for scientific advising. Along with mentoring, administrative support and interdisciplinary opportunities, participants learn leadership skills by bringing special guest speakers to campus, and meeting with other experts across disciplines to network and form possible collaborations.
Peter Simons, director of IECE, is pleased to provide the seed funding through the institute. “FOSEP will help to break down the walls and enable graduate students to explore solutions and examine opportunities together,” he said.
FOSEP goals include:
During the fall of 2009, FOSEP held two discussion groups. The first explored geoengineering as a solution to climate change with the participation of a member of the Nationals Academies Panel on Geoengineering, and the second examined the new NSF mandate for responsible conduct of research training with the head of CU's steering committee.
FOSEP leaders are currently working to bring Neal Lane, former science advisor to the Clinton Administration, to speak in the Spring 2010 semester.
“We’re looking to get the word out to graduate students, so that they can get involved and benefit from the support of other students, researchers, faculty and colleagues from outside of the university,” said Rick.
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