Past Projects & Events

For more information about past CSEP news and events, please check out the CSEP Blog

2014-2018: Award from the National Academy of Engineering, Funded by NSF $158,868.00 Project. Becoming the Online Research Center for Ethics Education in Engineering and Science. This award funds the creation of an Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science (OEC). Collaboration with the Ethics Education Library (EEL) of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) will provide access to a wider array of materials than will be housed in the OEC and promote interactions with other repositories of ethics-related information. The OEC will develop best practices in ethics training, foster research on ethical issues in science, mathematics, and engineering in both national and international contexts, and serve as a living resource of multimedia materials that may be used to train current and future generations of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in ethics and responsible conduct of research. 

2013-2015: Funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission’s Programme “Science in Society/SiS” 80,500.00 Euros Project ProGRess (Promoting Global Responsible Research and Social and Scientific Innovation.) with CSEP as the U.S. participant in a project which includes universities and ethics centers from Europe, China, Japan, India, Australia, and South Africa. The goal is to explore what is meant when we talk about Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), i.e., research and innovation which is: a) ethically acceptable, is b) sustainable by avoiding significant adverse effects, and c) drives towards the common good, i.e. societal desirability. CSEP will focus on the broader impacts criterion that the National Science Foundation uses to review the merits of grant proposals. Product/Publications: Report on how NSF - through its broader impacts criterion - requires funding recipients to undertake research that is socially relevant and on how debate about broader impacts and the history of the criterion developed. Analytical paper looking at what is meant by the “broader impacts” criterion.

 2012: Award from University of Illinois, funded by NSF $20,000.00 Project. Integration of the Ethics Education Library with UIUC’s EthicsCORE site. Product. Integrated search of both sites, shared metadata, material added to EthicsCORE from CSEP educational endeavors, including IIT IPRO Ethics Modules and student s’ presentations from Eric Brey’s ethics course in his 2012 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

2009-2013: Award from NSF $325,029 Project “Addressing Ethics in the Natural Course of Research: A Joint Research Course for Philosophy of Science, Engineering, and Science Graduate Students” Product/Publication, Three course offerings (2010, 11, and 12); Other publications and products in process

2009-2011: Award from National Academy of Engineering, funded by NSF $72,250.00. Developing an On-line Resource for Ethics Education in Science and Engineering to help faculty and students in research institutions meet the NSF’s requirements of ethics mentoring in funded projects, Product/Publication. Ethics Education Library ( containing bibliographies, case studies, and ongoing reference assistance for the Academy.

2007: CSEP celebrated its 30th anniversary with members of the IIT community. John Rowe, Chairman of the IIT Board of Trustees; and Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon spoke on his experiences as a participant in public controversy over energy and environmental policies. The lecture was followed by a short demonstration of Ethics Bowl, an intercollegiate tournament invented at CSEP by Robert Ladenson. 

2006-2015: For over ten years, the Center has worked with IIT's Armour College of Engineering to develop a weekly colloquium on research ethics as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduate programs. In this course, students work in groups to research a topic in research ethics and present their findings to the class.  Colloquium discussions revolve around ethics cases and relate back to the students' work in the lab. NSF Award #1157041#0552896#0852048.

2005-2011: Dr. Robert Ladenson teaches Law and Communication Ethics course.

2005-2010: Award from Harvard/UCLA Consortium in NSF’s Center for Nanotechnology and Society $131,500.00. Principal Investigator; Vivian Weil, Director. The Center participated in a five-year project to develop the NanoEthicsBank, an electronically accessible database containing codes, policies, reports, and scholarly work relating to ethics and nanotechnology. The NanoEthicsBank is part of the larger Harvard-based database NanoConnection to Society which is an important resource for researchers, scholars and the general public on current and potential effects of nanotechnology on society. The NanoConnection to Society database is part of the Nanotechnology in Society Project, funded by the National Science Foundationand the National Nanotechnology Initiative. NSF Award # 0531146  Product/Publication, NanoEthicsBank (; “From the Trenches: First-Hand Reports of How Companies Are Managing Nanotechnologies” Nanotechnology Law & Business.

2005-2007: Award from NSF $25,023.00 Principal Investigator: Vivian Weil, Director. The objective of this project ws do do research on the ethical and social implications of nano research and development in the nanotechnology research facility at the University of Chicago. The project broght a philosophy of science predoctoral student into the UIC research facility who interacted with researchers using the facility and developed a questionaire for staff and users about the impacts and implications of their work. An article published by Julio Tuma, the embeded philosopher at the UIC facility was published in the December 2013 issue of Science and Engineering Ethics. NSF Award #9514780.

2005-2007: Award from NSF, $400,000. In this three-year project, the Center provided ethics traing workshops for a "Research Experiences for Teachers" program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The workshops helped introduce participants on how to recognize ethical issues in the courses they taught and how to integrate ethics into the educational modules they developed as part of the program. NSF Award # 0502174.

2005-2007: Award from NSF $276,000.00 Project “Ethics in the Details.” Principal Investigators: Michael Davis, Senior Fellow, CSEP Kathryn Riley, Chair, Humanities. This 3-year grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, looks at developing a new way of effectively integrating ethics into the graduate engineering classroom. Through a series of one-day workshops taught at IIT and Howard University, faculty and graduate-student teaching assistants are taught how to develop "micro-insertions" of ethics, or small ways to rewrite technical problems to include ethical issues. The grant team is accessing the effectiveness of this method in graduate courses and a nanotechnology research lab. In addition, the grant will support development of a Web-based "Ethics In-Basket" to disseminate ethics problems to engineering faculty worldwide. 

2001-2004: Award from NSF $67,227.00 Project “Software Engineers Acquire a Code of Ethics : A Research and Writing Project” Product/Publication, Online posting of 450 page study on CSEP’s website (

1997- 1999: Award from NSF $211,646.00 Project to conduct summer workshops for faculty from IIT and across the globe, “Ethics Across¬ the Curriculum: Transferring the Technology” Product/Publication, "Developing and Using Cases to Teach Practical Ethics", Teaching Philosophy (1997). 2000-2003: Award from NSF $244,168.00 Project to conduct summer workshops for faculty from across the globe, “Ethics Across the Curriculum: Continuing To Transfer the Technology” Product/Publication, “IIT’s Workshops for Integrating Ethics into Technical Courses: Some Lessons Learned” Teaching Ethics (2006)

1997 – 1999: Award from the Grainger Foundation $47,500.00 (plus Galvin-Pritzker match) Project to study the NASA Mars Pathfinder Success for Ethics Lessons Product/Publication, “Ethics and Success: The Mars Pathfinder Mission”, Perspectives on the Professions: Ethical and Policy Issues” CSEP Periodical (1998)

1996 – 1999: Award from NSF $67,227.00 Project to put online CSEP’s comprehensive collection of Codes of Ethics Product/Publication, Online Archive Data Base, most comprehensive in the world; Commitment to NSF to maintain in perpetuity

1996-1997: CSEP celebrates its 20th anniversary with a series of lectures from Roger Boisjoly, author of Learning from the Challenger Disaster: An Ethics Survival Kit, and a panel discussion entitled, "Upgrading City Neighborhoods: A Challenge to Professionals, and a lecture by William LeMessurier, the architect of the CitiCorp building. 

 1995-1998: Award from NSF for travel Project for “Workshops on Engineering Ethics: A U.S.- Russian Partnership," Moscow, Russia (1997, 1998) Product/Publication, articles in Engineering Ethics: History, Context, and Significance, Vols 1 & 2 (1997) published in Russian in Moscow.

1995: Award from NSF $225,000.00 Project to study online drafting of a code of ethics, “What Balance between Technical Standards and Professional Education in Software Engineering?” As part of this project, CSEP faculty monitored followed the deliberations of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery as they formed a Joint Steering Committee for the Establishment of Software Engineering as a Profession and set about developing a code of ethics. The project represented a rare opportunity to study a technical profession come into being. The final product of this project is the Software Engineering Archive which includes all of the emails from members of this project as well as drafts of the code of ethics and interviews with main participants in the project. NSF Award# 9523650 and #0117471 Product/Publication, “Writing a Code of Ethics by E-Mail: Adventures with Software Engineers” Science Communication (2000) Software Engineering Ethics Archive

 1995: Award from the Joyce Foundation in Chicago $116,586.00 Project of research with the National League of Cities, "Doing Privatization Right: Practical and Ethical Guidelines for Government Officials," Product/Publication, A Local Officials Guide, Municipal Services Delivery: Thinking Through The Privatization Option (1997). National League of Cities Publication.

1994: Award from NSF $25,384.00 Project to do research on the professional autonomy of engineers Product/Publication, "Professional Autonomy: A Framework for Empirical Research" Business Ethics Quarterly (1966) 1994: Fulbright award Project to host scholar, Sam Wang, from Taiwan, who won the award to be year-long guest scholar at CSEP.

1993: Ethics Bowl (EB) was created by Dr. Robert Ladenson as an intramural event in 1993 in response to Lew Collins’s request for something “splashy”. By the second year, EB was extramural, and by the third year, the competition included universities from outside Chicago. After a few years, EP was welcomed as a star event by our national association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Ethics Bowl won the American Philosophy Association, Philosophy Documentation Center’s 2006 Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs. Starting in 2008, only 32 out of well over 100 teams from the ten national regions compete at the Association’s Annual meeting. EB is now both a Club and a team at IIT, and for two years has had a current Sawyier Fellow as coach and Kelly Laas as Co-coach. In autumn 2012 and 2013, the team did well at the regional competition and just missed going to the finals.

1993: Award from NSF to Muchund Acharya $5,000 Project, Ethics Supplement in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Product/Publication, "Integrating Ethics into an Undergraduate Research Experience" (Muchund Acharya, Michael Davis, and Vivian Weil), Journal of Engineering Education (1995)

 1991- 1995: Award from NSF $148,400.00 Project to conduct summer workshops for faculty from IIT and across the country, “Ethics Across¬ the Curriculum: Integrating Ethics into Professional Education” Product/Publication, "Integrating Ethics into Technical Courses: IIT's Experiment in Its Second Year", Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference (1992); "Ethics Across the Curriculum: Teaching Professional Responsibility in Technical Courses", Teaching Philosophy (1993).

1990: Award from NSF $25,871.00 Project to conduct a conference on Engineering Ethics in Engineering Education Product/Publication, Engineering Ethics in Engineering Education: Report of a Conference (1992).

1987: Award from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation $75,000 Project for Research on National Security, the First Amendment, and Scientific and Technical information Product/Publication, “Military Research, Secrecy, and Ethics,” in Annals New York Academy of Sciences (1989), and four unpublished papers. 1988: Award from the Hitachi Foundation $39,600 Project on “Professional Ethics at the Interface of Engineering and Management” Product/Publication, "Better Communications between Engineers and Managers: Some Ways to Prevent Ethically Hard Choices," in Science and Engineering Ethics (1997)

1986: Leon Lederman spoke, and later won an IIT Honorary Degree and became a member of the Physics faculty. 

1986-1987: Contract from the City of Chicago Board of Ethics $6000 Project to prepare the city commissioners to implement the Board’s Code of Ethics in their respective departments Product/Publication, Workshop with the Board Director for the commissioners; "Ethics in the City of Chicago", Teaching Philosophy (1987).

1982-1986: Award from EXXON Education Foundation $74,412.00 . Project to produce Applied Ethics Teaching Modules on topics in practical and professional ethics Product/Publication, Six Modules (Monographs), The Moral Status of Loyalty (1984); Professional Responsibility for Harmful Actions (1984); Risk-Benefit Analysis in Decisions Concerning Public Safety and Health (1985); Technology Assessment: A Historical Approach (1985); Conflicts of Interest in Engineering (1986), Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company

1983: Award from NSF $60,856.00 Project to produce Research Conference on “Ethical Implications of Patents, Trade Secrets and Related Property Controls for Science and Technology” Product/Publication, Introduction and Five Papers in Science, Technology and Human Values (1987) and a volume, Owning Scientific and Technical Information: Value and Ethical Issues. Rutgers University Press (1989).

1981-2001: Perspectives on the Professions: Ethical and Policy Issues published by CSEP.  Editor, Fay Sawyier, Associate Editor Warren Schmaus (1981 – 1987); Editor, Michael Davis (1988 -2001) 

1981: Award from NSF $38,735.00 Project to organize and present 2nd National Engineering Ethics Conference for academic engineers, philosophers, and practitioners. Product/Publication, Beyond Whistleblowing: Defining Engineers’Responsibilities (1983).

1980 – 1990, 1996: Computer Ethics course taught by CSEP faculty

1979-1988: Dr. Faye Sawyier taught a course on Architecture Ethics, Dr. Michael Davis teaches course from 2005 – 2012, henceforth every other year.

1979-2012: Business Ethics course taught by CSEP faculty

1978-1979: Two offerings of legal ethics by CSEP at Kent in 1978 and 1979, facilitated by Lew Collins, served the Law School until ethics became a component of the bar exam and Kent hired its own faculty for ethics.

1977-Present:  Engineering Ethics course taught virtually without a break until 2012, henceforth every other year.

1977—1979: Two awards from National Science Foundation (NSF): $109,215.00 Project to produce Engineering Ethics Bibliography Product/Publication, “A Selected Annotated Bibliography Of Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility in Engineering” (1980). Project to produce National Engineering Ethics Workshops for Engineers and Philosophers. Product/Publication, “Report of the Workshops on Ethical Issues in Engineering” (1980).

1977: First engineering ethics course at IIT and one of the first academic engineering ethics courses in the U.S. 

1976: Established by an anonymous gift to IIT of $100,000, for each of five successive years, contingent on performance from the first year on.