Teaching ethics of research and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) at doctoral level in Universities is mandatory in most of European countries. Science communication and dissemination is part of the duties of the researchers and is essential for the public involvement of citizenship in the process of decision making when science is involved in policies and norms. We set up an experimental interdisciplinary course in Ethics of Research, RRI and science communication for doctoral students at University of Pavia since the academic year 2016-2017, following the model proposed by the EU Commission (undergraduate students are welcomed, but should apply by e-mail with a motivation letter and a short CV). The methodology includes frontal lessons, case discussions, participatory processes and active involvement of the students in the development of each lesson. We want to foster interaction and participation. Simulation of ethics assessment and social impact assessment of research procedures, ethics evaluation and interaction with the general public will also take place to allow the students to develop practical skills in the field.
Our teaching goals for ethics of research and science communication fit into the following four general categories: knowledge, skills, attitude and behaviors.
Knowledge about the responsible conduct of research will include the facts, guidelines, policies, data and other sources of information.
Among the core competencies that we want our students to acquire there are:
Skills to promote ethical practice in science include specific proficiencies, for example:
Attitudes and behaviors, defined by an acceptance of the value of acting in ways which foster responsible conduct. This area of the course will focus on:
Basic skills in science communication and public involvement