Beyond responsible conduct: Macroethics of Nanobiotechnology


Journal Article (Academic article)

A team of engineers, scientists, ethicists, and educational specialists are enhancing Duke’s existing Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) program to ensure that graduate-level researchers in emerging fields are adequately prepared when confronted with macroethical issues, especially those related to nanobiotechnologies. The focus is on actual nano-scale research conducted in the Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Material Systems and the Center for Biological Tissue Engineering. Most present RCR addresses methodological ethics of the individual researcher or practitioner; what we call microethical issues, which is analogous to Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development. The resultant model from this project will form the basis for departmental, center and other more targeted ethical challenges stemming from research in emerging technologies and will form the basis for our comprehensive RCR training. The primary aim is Ph.D. research, but professional degrees are also included. The innovations in pedagogy associated with this project include modalities that are potentially more effective in approaching the macroethical issues. The project is developing, implementing, and assessing multiple pedagogical modes for micro- and macro-ethical training to optimize ethical content and consciousness within the graduate experience at Duke and other research institutions. Success of the efficacy of the teaching micro- and macro-ethical training will be assessed based on three key dimensions of ethical learning: 1. Knowledge or awareness of ethically relevant issues and considerations 2. Reasoning and reflection skills that lead to thoughtful conclusions about what ought to be done 3. Motivation and will to act in accordance with one’s judgment about the right, or best, thing to do. The first two dimensions will be assessed through pre-and post-workshop surveys. The third dimension will be assessed through tools that collect feedback from the participants’ research community.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vallero, D; Laursen, T; Lenoir, T; Clark, R; Reichert, W

Published Date

  • 2007

Published In

  • International Journal of Medical Implants and Devices

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 15 -