NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM)

The Office of Research is managing an internal competition for the selection of one application from Syracuse University to the NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM) program (NSF 18-532).



Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM) funds research projects that identify (1) factors that are effective in the formation of ethical STEM researchers and (2) approaches to developing those factors in all the fields of science and engineering that NSF supports. NSF continues its support for responsible conduct for research and program development. Past solicitations have funded projects that developed ethics education materials and approaches for STEM researchers being trained as graduate students at US institutions and their affiliates. Results included courses, case studies, and modules–materials which are now available at one or more of the online ethics resource centers that NSF has funded including the following: Ethics Education Library. Illinois Institute of Technology; IDEESE: International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science & Engineering. University of Massachusetts Amherst; National Center for Professional & Research Ethics. University of Illinois; Online Ethics Center. National Academy of Engineering.  Projects can include qualitative and/or quantitative approaches. Proposals should specify plans to deliver findings to appropriate research and educational communities and assist them to implement projects or programs based on the findings. CCE STEM awardees must share their findings with others via the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science (Award #1355547) and at the biennial PI meetings held at NSF. PIs are responsible for covering the expenses of participating in these PI meetings throughout the tenure of their award and should indicate this in their budget.



Proposed research should seek to provide answers to the following: ‘What constitutes ethical STEM research and practice? Which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?’ Factors one might consider include: honor codes, professional ethics codes and licensing requirements, an ethic of service and/or service learning, life-long learning requirements, curricula or membership in organizations (e.g. Engineers without Borders) that stress responsible conduct for research, institutions that serve under-represented groups, institutions where academic and research integrity are cultivated at multiple levels, institutions that cultivate ethics across the curriculum, or programs that promote group work, or do not grade. Do certain labs have a ‘culture of academic integrity’? What practices contribute to the establishment and maintenance of ethical cultures and how can these practices be transferred, extended to, or integrated into other research and learning settings? Successful proposals typically have a comparative dimension, either between or within institutional settings that differ along these or among other factors, and they specify plans for developing interventions that promote the effectiveness of identified factors. CCE STEM research projects will use basic research to produce knowledge about what constitutes or promotes responsible or irresponsible conduct of research, and how to best instill students with this knowledge. In some cases, projects will include the development of interventions to ensure responsible research conduct.



NSF expects project teams to include persons with appropriate expertise. This might include expertise in the domain or domains of science or engineering on which the project focuses, in ethics, values, evaluation, and pedagogy. For Institutional Transformation Research Grant proposals, it is highly recommended that one or more senior members of the administration (e.g. Provost, VP, and/or President) serves as a PI.



The anticipated funding amount each year is $3,150,000 – subject to the availability of funds – for an estimated 6-8 Standard Grants. The maximum award duration is 5 years. The maximum amount for 5-year awards is $600,000 and the maximum amount for 3-year awards is $400,000. The average award is $275,000.


Limited Submission Deadline

5:00 PM Monday, January 7, 2019


All internal applications must be submitted electronically through the Syracuse University Application Portal https://syracuse/infoready4.com, and should include:

  1. A 3-page proposal narrative (references do not count toward the space limit) that tracks proposal guidelines;
  2. A 2-page, NSF-formatted CV/Biosketch for the PI only;
  3. A single-page budget summary;


Selection Process

If more than one internal application is received, proposals will be reviewed by a panel consisting of applicable academic deans, associate deans for research and the Vice President for Research. In additional to the NSF review criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, CCE STEM applications will be evaluated according to the following solicitation-specific review criteria:

  • Is this an innovative effort? Is it likely to enhance the formation of ethical STEM researchers?
  • Does the project include adequate grounding in the relevant research literature?
  • Do potential results have promise for broad utility?
  • Are there adequate supporting materials to document commitment from those individuals and institutions playing a substantive role in the project?

Additional review criteria for Institutional Transformation Research Grant (ITRG) proposals include:

  • How significant will the contribution of the study of the proposed innovative components and other institutional transformation activities be to the institutional transformation knowledge base? How strong are the indicators of institutional readiness for institutional transformation and commitment to the project activities and goals?
  • Does the proposal include well-formulated, feasible plans for evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention?
  • How well are the proposed activities linked to the institutional context and data?
  • How well is the relevant social science literature incorporated into the design of the proposed innovative components and other institutional transformation activities?
  • Are mechanisms planned that ensure long-term sustainability beyond the duration of the funded project?


Please visit https://syracuse/infoready4.com to apply for this limited submission opportunity.