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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

ESF Offers Summer Research Ethics Workshop

NSF-Funded Training for Graduate Students in Environmental Science, Engineering and Related Fields

The ESF Deptartment of Environmental Studies will host a three-day graduate training workshop on "Ethics, Culture, and Community-based Environmental Research" Aug. 14-16. Part of the National Science Foundation-funded Northeast Ethics Education Partnership with Brown University's Center for Environmental Studies, the session will be led by Drs. Dianne Quigley and David A. Sonnenfeld.

The workshop is designed for graduate students in environmental science, environmental engineering, environmental studies and related fields, in upstate New York, who are planning to conduct field-based environmental research for their dissertation or thesis work and who need or desire training on protection of human subjects, including for Institutional Review Board (IRB) review of their research plans.

Developing research ethics protections with communities and culturally diverse groups needs more attention in research ethics training. More and more community groups are forming partnerships with academic researchers. Both communities and cultural groups need to ensure that research exploitation, community stigma harms and culturally inappropriate research practices can be prevented in research interventions. Communities and cultural groups increasingly require that research activities produce beneficial change and positive outcomes to their local community settings. For all the particular contextual and cultural conditions of place-based communities, community-based beneficence and approvals for research will involve complex decision-making for research designs, methods and outcomes.

Training in research ethics and cultural diversity will prepare students with new research approaches and methods appropriate to environmental field research, community-based partnerships and research with cultural groups. Participants will learn about required human subjects protections (such as informed consent and beneficence) and ethical and cultural competence theories. They will also review environmental case studies for community-based, culturally appropriate approaches. Upon completing the workshop, graduate students will be prepared to complete IRB applications and address common human subjects protections.

The session will include 12 hours of classroom training and three hours of follow-up online training. Participants will receive a certificate of completion for "Research Ethics/ Human Subjects Protections and Cultural Competence Training." The application deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, May 31. For further information, contact Sonnenfeld at <dsonn@esf.edu>.