The number of grant proposals including some sort of community engagement in engineering research has vastly accelerated in the past decade. Despite this great interest in "citizen science", there are currently no guidelines for effective coordination of community-engaged engineering research. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together experts in engineering, community relations, and ethics to define a framework for community engagement in engineering research. Workshop participants will examine the recent history and practice of engagement in communities by engineering researchers with a focus on effective and ethical research collaboration. The outcome of this workshop will be a new framework for the practice of community-engaged research. Through these efforts, the workshop contributes to the advancement of STEM research in service of the American public. To maximize policy impact, the workshop will be held in Washington, DC. Staff from Federal STEM agencies and professional societies will be invited to attend.
Community-engaged research creates opportunities for the public to be directly involved with forming research questions, participating in research activities of relevance to the community, and acquiring subject-matter technical expertise. However, without standards of practice, community-engaged research poses risks to both engineering researchers and, even more importantly, the communities they engage. The purpose of this workshop is to remedy this situation by defining a working framework for community engagement in engineering research. The workshop will include experts in engineering, community relations, and ethics, as well as representatives from Federal STEM agencies and engineering professional societies to maximize outreach and impact to stakeholders. This workshop will draw on the critical lessons learned from research involving human subjects to adapt to the different situations of community-engaged research. Workshop participants will examine the recent history and practice of engagement in communities by engineering researchers with the purpose of producing a new framework of engagement. This as a critical step in developing a better understanding of the protections community members and researchers need when participating in community-engaged research. The development of this framework will facilitate effective collaboration to produce scientifically defensible results and advance STEM research impact through engaged communities. As such, it will improve the scientific literacy of the Nation and increase public understanding of engineering science. public understanding of engineering science.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.