Ben Shepard
Ben Shepard

Science & Society News

Learn what is happening inside the Duke Initiative for Science & Society. Stay up-to-date on our research, events, and student activities.

Fri, Apr 12

How Much the Public Knows about Science, and Why It Matters

A new survey shows that it varies dramatically by education, race, and ethnicity.

Mon, Mar 25

Prominent Scientists Call for Ban on Human Gene Editing

A new committee of the World Health Organization is calling for an international registry to track studies that edit human embryos, its members announced on 19 March. The committee formed in December in the wake of Chinese researcher He Jiankui’s announcement that he had used CRISPR to edit the embryos of twin girls. The proposed registry would also track research that results in edited adult cells. The committee is calling for journals to refuse to publish unregistered studies, and funding bodies to require grantees to register related work.

Wed, Feb 20

Ethical Guidelines for DNA Testing in Migrant Family Reunification

In the summer of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers removed more than 2600 migrant children from their families at the United States–Mexico border

Sat, Jan 05

In Memoriam – Dr. Richard Payne

Dr. Rich PayneWe are saddened by the recent death of our Faculty Affiliate, Rich Payne, Esther Colliflower Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Divinity. Dr. Payne died Jan. 3 at age 67

Recently retired from his endowed chair in Divinity and Medicine, Rich was an internationally known expert in pain relief, care for those near death, oncology, and neurology. His focus was always upon the patient and, even in the heat of the opioid crisis, he remained a tireless advocate for patients in chronic pain.

The grandson of a sharecropper and the ninth of 14 siblings, Rich received his BA in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale and his MD from Harvard Medical School. Before coming to Duke, he led the Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.

Dr. Payne retired from Duke Divinity School in 2017, where he served as a faculty member for the Theology, Medicine, and Culture initiative, an expansion from the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, which he helped to launch and direct.

He was a generous, thoughtful and insightful colleague and we will always be inspired by his extraordinary career.

Learn More

Fri, Dec 21

New Center to Expand Broader Impacts Effort

Under a new $5.2 million grant, the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI) will expand to become the Advancing Research and its Impact on Society (ARIS) Center. Housed at the University of Missouri, the Center will be the first of its kind in the nation.

In 1997 the National Science Foundation (NSF) formalized the inclusion of Broader Impacts into its proposal review requirements. In 2011, they further emphasized the need for meaningful inclusion of these criteria and soon established NABI under a five-year grant. The ARIS Center aims to expand this foundational effort beyond the NSF by promoting and supporting research efforts through additional federal and private foundations.

Dr. Jory Weintraub, Duke Initiative for Science & Society faculty member and Director of Duke University’s Broader Impacts Resource Center (BIRC) is one of ten Co-Principal Investigators on the award led by Dr. Susan Renoe, Principal Investigator and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Extension & Engagement at the University of Missouri.

Jory Weintraub Broader Impacts

With a team of partners from ten universities, the ARIS Center will enhance outreach and engagement efforts in the nation and abroad by developing proposals, publications, and programs that share evidence-based practices for enhancing the societal impact of research. Through the effort, scientists and engagement specialists will be provided tools and training to expand their efforts, advance scholarship, and grow partnerships.

“It is a concerted effort to support any researcher who wants to think about and communicate the impact of their work on society,” says Weintraub. The ARIS Center will widen the terminology beyond Broader Impacts to be more inclusive, opting for Research Impacts as they expand their effort beyond the NSF.

Broader Impacts efforts have historically been limited to the NSF-funded projects that require them. But Weintraub and his colleagues believe every research proposal is made stronger and more compelling by focusing on how the work impacts society.

Dipping into a regularly debated political topic, Weintraub adds, “Another straightforward goal of Research Impacts is to communicate back to tax payers why the research is relevant to them, and serve as an assurance that their money is well spent.” This has been a concern not traditionally focused on by researchers, but one that has become increasingly prioritized in recent decades.

Jory Weintraub SciComm

Dr. Weintraub joined NABI’s steering committee shortly after its inception five years ago and Science & Society’s team shortly thereafter. His work through BIRC has been integral to the success of many NSF grant proposals at Duke and around the country. But more importantly, his related efforts in science communication training, education, and outreach has greatly furthered the purpose of Research Impacts within the research community and outwardly with the public. His work with ARIS will continue to inform his efforts locally at Duke and the BIRC.

National partners and institutions for the ARIS center include: Brown University, Duke University, Iowa State University, Madison Area Technical College, Michigan State University, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Oregon State University, Rutgers University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Learn more at the Broader Impacts website.

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