Notre Dame’s IDEA Center, standing for Innovation, De-Risking and Enterprise Acceleration, incubates the projects to be analyzed by the Responsible Innovation fellows.

If innovation is to be responsible, consideration of a technology’s ethical and social dimensions must be made a systematic part of the innovation process. Notre Dame Professor Mark Bourgeois wrote his successful Responsible Innovation NSF proposal with that goal in mind.

The project it funds is an effort to put these ideas into practice while training a new generation of researchers in them. In it, over a three-year period, up to 36 post-docs, advanced doctoral students, and law students will apply Responsible Innovation principles to analyze projects that Notre Dame’s IDEA Center is nurturing from discovery to commercialization.

When the first Fellows cohort begins in Fall 2020, each team will represent humanities, law or social sciences as well as the natural science and engineering disciplines that most usually elicit projects for the Center. Fellows will first learn together, exploring technology ethics, responsible innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship as well as learning from one another’s expertise. Each team then serves as consultants on an actual innovation project. The project will be successful, Bourgeois said, if Responsible Innovation methods become a standard tool for all future Center project reviews – and if Fellows take the practice into their future careers.

How does your school incorporate ethics into professional and graduate education? Share what you’ve learned with Deni Elliott for a future Spotlight: elliott@usf.edu.

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