Close Menu

Past Projects and Events

Past projects and major events in the history of the Center.

Building Inclusive Ethical Cultures in STEM:A Virtual Practice-based Workshop


2021: This virtual event held on April 23-24th, 2021 sought to share best practices to effectively engage students and faculty working in research labs and lab-based classsrooms in building inclusive ethical cultures. The two-day workshop featured a series of short presentations and panel discussions that showcased best practices and approaches to embedding educational interventions in research labs and lab-based courses. See a recording of the workshop, as well as abstracts and related materials on the event page.

Brain-Based and Artificial Intelligence: Socio-ethical Conversations in Computing and Neurotechnology

2018: This workshop sought to explore the convergences and disparities in approaches to intelligence in neuroscience and computer science. It reflected on how brain-based intelligence is similar to artificial intelligence and also how both can be combined in neurotechnology. Based on this, the workshop explored the ethical and social implications that arise in AI and neurotechnology. A special issue of Science and Engineering Ethics is currently being developed from the findings of this workshop.

Ethics Education Library

2014 - 2018: Awarded by the National Science Foundation. Award Amount: $153,860This five year grant from the National Science Foundation helped continue the development of the Online Ethics Center and the Ethics Education Library.

Bottom-Up Ethics: Real World Training for Professional Practice

2017: CSEP is partnered with Armour College's Biomedical Engineering Program and the Stuart School of Business to experiment with a new way of engaging students in the ethics of research practice as part of a Faculty Innovation Award.

Neuroethics: On the Interplay Between Neuroscience and Ethics

2015 - 2016: Funded by the Swiss Cogito Foundation, this two-year project seeks to understand the ways in which the brain and behavioral sciences might provide insight into moral and philosophical questions.


2013 - 2016: In February 2013, the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions has received an award of $108,669 to be the participant for the United States in a project funded by the European Commission called “Promoting Global Responsible Research and Social and Scientific Innovation” or ProGReSS. The project, which also includes universities and ethics center from Europe, China, Japan, India, Australia, and South Africa seeks to explore what is meant when we talk about Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) that is, research and innovation which is: a) ethically acceptable, b) is sustainable by avoiding significant adverse effects and c) drives towards the common good, i.e. societal desirability. Dr. Michael Davis and Kelly Laas of the Center were the primary investigators on this project.

The project will link existing international networks of RRI from all continents with European partners and seek to achieve the following:

  1. Link existing international networks of RRI with relevant societal actors on a global scale to focus innovation on societal desirability.
  2. Complete a major fact-finding mission comparing science funding strategies and innovation policies in Europe, the US, China, Japan, India, Australia, and South Africa.
  3. Advocate a European normative model for RRI globally, using constitutional values as a driver to inform societal desirability. 
    4. Develop a strategy for fostering the convergence of regional innovation systems at the global level.

Addressing Ethics in the Natural Course of Research

2009 - 2013: Award from NSF $325,029 for project, “Addressing Ethics in the Natural Course of Research: A Joint Research Course for Philosophy of Science, Engineering, and Science Graduate Students.” This project developed a joint research course for PhD students in engineering, science, and science studies, that is, philosophy, history, and sociology of science. Offered successively in the autumn semesters of 2010, 2011, and 2012, this full three credit course was designed to prepare students for engaging in multidisciplinary research and for addressing ethical issues in the natural course of research.


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 Illinois Tech IPRO Ethics Modules and students’ presentations from Eric Brey’s ethics course in his 2012 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

Ethics Education Library

2009 - 2011: Award from National Academy of Engineering, funded by NSF $72,250.00. The project, entitled "Developing an On-line Resource for Ethics Education in Science and Engineering" sought to help faculty and students in research institutions meet the NSF’s requirements of ethics mentoring in funded projects. The project resulted in the production of the Ethics Education Library and CSEP providing ongoing reference assistance for the Academy.

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Engineering Research Experiences in Diabetes for Undergraduates

2006 - 2015: For over ten years, the Center has worked with Illinois Tech'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.

NanoEthics Bank

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

CSEP 30th Anniversary

2007: CSEP celebrated its 30th anniversary with members of the Illinois Tech community. John Rowe, Chairman of the Illinois Tech 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.

Ethics Research in a Nano Facility

2005 - 2007: $25,023.00 Award from NSF. Principal Investigator: Vivian Weil, Director.The objective of this project was to research the ethical and social implications of nano research and development in the nanotechnology research facility at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The project brought a philosophy of science predoctoral student into the UIC research facility who interacted with researchers using the facility and developed a questionnaire for staff and users about the impacts and implications of their work. An article published by Julio Tuma, the embedded philosopher at the UIC facility was published in the December 2013 issue of Science and Engineering Ethics. NSF Award #0500431

Research Experiences for Teachers

2005 - 2007: $400,000 award from NSF. In this three-year project, CSEP provided ethics training workshops for a "Research Experiences for Teachers" program at 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.

Ethics in the Details

2005 - 2007: $276,000.00 award from NSF. Principal Investigators: Michael Davis, Senior Fellow, CSEP Kathryn Riley, Chair, Humanities. This 3-year grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, looked at developing a new way of effectively integrating ethics into the graduate engineering classroom. Through a series of one-day workshops taught at Illinois Tech and Howard University, faculty and graduate-student teaching assistants were taught how to develop "micro-insertions" of ethics, or small ways to rewrite technical problems to include ethical issues.

Illinois Tech Code of Ethics

2005 - 2007: Project initiated by CSEP to develop a code of ethics for Illinois Tech that articulated the shared principles of the entire Illinois Tech community. By convening a series of focus groups consisting of student,s staff, faculty and administration, the code of ethics went though a number of drafts (all available on the project site) and though never fully ratified, the code is an important model for how a campus code of ethics can be developed through a collaborative process involving all stakeholders.

Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession

2001 - 2004: $67,227.00 Award from NSF. Project “Software Engineers Acquire a Code of Ethics : A Research and Writing Project." Michael Davis, a senior fellow of CSEP, was a participant observer throughout the drafting of the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and afterwards wrote a detailed account of how the code was developed by the ACM and IEEE-CS committee. “ Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession” gives insight in how the profession of software engineering was formed and wrote its own code of professional ethics, and also looks at this project as a case study to see how other professional societies can better go about drafting and revising their own codes of ethics. The entire book is available for free download under a Creative Commons License. The book is based on material from the Software Engineering Archive.

Trying Times: Science and Responsibilities after Daubert, edited by Dr. Vivian Weil

Can judges make responsible decisions about what scientific evidence is admissible in court? When is expert witnessing unethical? How can courts respect scientific standards while pursuing justice? These are some of the questions that direct attention to responsibilities of the professionals in legal cases requiring evidence from experts. These responsibilities are the concern of a recent publication, Trying Times: Science and Responsibilities after Daubert, produced by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) at Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) in collaboration with the Institute for Science, Law and Technology (ISLAT) at Illinois Tech's Chicago-Kent College of Law. The volume includes essays by Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, a federal judge, Richard Meserve, a former litigator in high stakes cases involving scientific testimony, Sheila Jasanoff (Science and Public Policy, Harvard), and Ullica Segerstrale (Social Science, Illinois Tech). The editor, Vivian Weil, has an introductory essay. An annotated bibliography acquaints readers with the lively literature since the Supreme Court's 1993 decision in Daubert that made judges gatekeepers for admitting science in the courts. The volume is aimed to clarify the responsibilities of judges, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and researchers in medicine at this intersection of law and science.

Ethics Across the Curriculum

1997 - 1999: $211,646.00 award from NSF to to conduct summer workshops for faculty from Illinois Tech and across the globe. Article describing the project, "Developing and Using Cases to Teach Practical Ethics" published in Teaching Philosophy in 1997.

2000 - 2003: $244,168.00 Award from NSF to continue to provide EAC workshops for another four summers. Article describing the project, “IIT’s Workshops for Integrating Ethics into Technical Courses: Some Lessons Learned” published in Teaching Ethics in 2006

Mars Pathfinder Project

1997 - 1999: $47,500.00 award from the Grainger Foundation (plus Galvin-Pritzker match) Project to study the NASA Mars Pathfinder Success for Ethics Lessons

Municipal Service Delivery: Thinking Through the Privatization Option,

by Inge Fryklund, Dr. Vivian Weil, and Harriett McCullough

Published in Sept. 1997, these practical and ethical guidelines highlight correct management of the privatization process. This project, funded by the Joyce Foundation, was the joint effort of CSEP and the National League of Cities.

Codes of Ethics Collection

1996 - 1999: $67,227.00 award from NSF. Project to put online CSEP’s comprehensive collection of codes of ethics. This resource is currently the most comprehensive collection of codes in the world, and CSEP has an ongoing commitment to NSF to maintain it in perpetuity.

CSEP 20th Anniversary

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.

Engineering Ethics Workshops in Russia

1995 - 1998: Award from NSF for travel Project for “Workshops on Engineering Ethics: A U.S.- Russian Partnership," Moscow, Russia (1997, 1998)

Dr. Weil and Dr. Davis publish articles in Engineering Ethics: History, Context, and Significance, Vols 1 & 2 (1997) published in Russian in Moscow.

Software Engineering Archive

1995: $225,000.00 award from NSF. Project to study online drafting of a code of ethics. 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 theSoftware 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. Michael Davis also wrote a manuscript chronicling the development of the code, "Code Making" which is freely available online. NSF Award# 9523650, #0117471

Doing Privatization Right

1995: $116,586.00 Award from the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. Research project with the National League of Cities, resulted in the publication of "Doing Privatization Right: Practical and Ethical Guidelines for Government Officials," (1997). National League of Cities Publication.

Professional Autonomy of Engineers

1994: $25,384.00 award from NSF. Project to do research on the professional autonomy of engineers, resulted in the article "Professional Autonomy: A Framework for Empirical Research" Business Ethics Quarterly (1966).

Fulbright Scholar at CSEP

1994: Fulbright award to to host scholar, Sam Wang, from Taiwan, who won the award to be year-long guest scholar at CSEP.

Ethics Bowl

1993: The 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. The Ethics Bowl is now both a Club and a team at Illinois Tech, and for five years has had a current Sawyier Fellow as coach and Kelly Laas as Co-coach. In autumn 2012 and 2013, and 2014 the team did well at the regional competition and just missed going to the finals. In 2015, Illinois Tech sponsored a team to travel to Florida to take part in the Bioethics Bowl, a spinoff competition sponsored by the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference.

Integrating Ethics into a Research Experience for Undergraduate Engineering Students

1993: $5,000 award from NSF to Muchund Acharya. Ethics Supplement in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). 
Co-investigators published the article, "Integrating Ethics into an Undergraduate Research Experience" (Muchund Acharya, Michael Davis, and Vivian Weil), Journal of Engineering Education (1995).

Engineering Ethics Conference

1990: $25,871.00 award from NSF to conduct a conference on Engineering Ethics in Engineering Education, proceedings of the conference published as, "Engineering Ethics in Engineering Education: Report of a Conference" (1992).

National Security, the First Amendment, and Scientific and Technical information

1987: $75,000 award from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Investigators published the articles, “Military Research, Secrecy, and Ethics,” in Annals New York Academy of Sciences (1989), and four unpublished papers.

1988: $39,600 Award from the Hitachi Foundation on “Professional Ethics at the Interface of Engineering and Management” as well as, "Better Communications between Engineers and Managers: Some Ways to Prevent Ethically Hard Choices," in Science and Engineering Ethics (1997)

Ethics in the City of Chicago

1986 - 1987: $6000 contract from the City of Chicago Board of Ethics to prepare the city commissioners to implement the Board’s Code of Ethics in their respective departments. After conducting a workshop with the Board Director for the commissioners, Dr. Weil and Dr. Davis published the article, "Ethics in the City of Chicago" in Teaching Philosophy (1987).

EXXON Modules in Applied Ethics

1982 - 1986: $74,412.00 Award from EXXON Education Foundation to produce Applied Ethics Teaching Modules on topics in practical and professional ethics. From this project, six monographs were publsihed, including, 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); and Conflicts of Interest in Engineering (1986) by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

Ethical Implications of Patents, Trade Secrets and Related Property Controls for Science and Technology

1983: $60,856.00 award from NSF to produce Research Conference on “Ethical Implications of Patents, Trade Secrets and Related Property Controls for Science and Technology.” This project resulted in five Papers in Science, Technology and Human Values (1987) and a volume, Owning Scientific and Technical Information: Value and Ethical Issues published by Rutgers University Press (1989).

Perspectives on the Professions

1981 - 2001: Publication of a a bi-yearly newsletter published by CSEP. Editor Fay Sawyier, Associate Editor Warren Schmaus (1981 – 1987); Editor, Michael Davis (1988 -2001). 

2nd Engineering Ethics Conference

1981: $38,735.00 Award from NSF to organize and present 2nd National Engineering Ethics Conference for academic engineers, philosophers, and practitioners. 

Engineering Ethics Bibliography and Workshop

1977 - 1979: $109,215.00 from two NSF awards to produce Engineering Ethics Bibliography Product/Publication, “A Selected Annotated Bibliography Of Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility in Engineering” (1980). Project produced National Engineering Ethics Workshops for Engineers and Philosophers.

Engineering Ethics Courses begin at Illinois Tech

1977: First engineering ethics course at Illinois Tech. This was also one of the first academic engineering ethics courses in the U.S. Course continues to be taught by CSEP faculty since 1977.

Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions Begins

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