The creation of university research centers to encourage collaboration among academe, industry and government in the conduct of science and technology is a relatively new phenomenon in this country. The aim of this project is to explore what happens to the values of these three sectors when they come together in these settings. This effort itself is a collaboration between four scholars from the disciplines of philosophy, political science and sociology. They will use their disciplinary perspectives and methods, including normative, organizational, structural and ethnographic analysis, in an intensive, on-site examination of the negotiation of values, including concerns for professional success, control, and management, in two research centers located at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Center for Manufacturing Productivity and Technology Transfer and the Center for Composite Materials and Structures. A four-member board incorporating business, government, and public interest perspectives, will advise the project; and the study will be augmented by an exchange of ideas and data with an investigation of other university-industry interactions currently underway in RPI's Center for Science and Technology Policy. Results will be disseminated in articles for disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals. Special mailings of "Working Papers" will be made to administrators and policymakers, and the findings should also be appropriate for sessions at meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society for Social Studies of Science. Involvement at the centers should also lead to channels of publication to audiences interested in the centers' activities. This project can make a unique contribution to the development, application, and evaluation of collaborative research agendas and methods in science and technology studies. It will also provide the first intensive, longitudinal examination of the processes and products of negotiating values in these new institutional settings. The investigators are exceptionally well qualified; graduate students are involved; institutional support and cooperation is excellent. The use of an advisory board and interaction with another related investigation will help to assure broader relevance and balance. This is a good example of the kind of cross-disciplinary research EVS should encourage. Results are likely to be useful and widely disseminated. Costs are reasonable. Total support in the amount of $164,374 is recommended, of which $96,000 is awarded now, from the Directorate for Engineering and the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)
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Rachelle D. Hollander
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
United States
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