Rigor, Relevance and Responsibility

Finding Ethical Approaches to Policy-Engaged Research Toward Public Good

Our Partnership

Working in tandem with researchers from the College of William & Mary and other institutions, faculty from DU's Josef Korbel School of International Studies developed a program titled "Rigor, Relevance, and Responsibility," which works to establish standards for ethical research concerned with public policy. Though the importance of policy-engaged research is unquestionable, researchers often face challenges when approached by political entities.

By developing high standards for the real-world usefulness of research, we created a more robust understanding of the ethical questions at play when researchers tackle projects that have real-world consequences.

About Our Research

We leverage cross-institutional collaboration to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, producing interdisciplinary solutions that influence policymakers to effectively serve the public good. From Stanford to UChicago to NYU, we’ve refined our collaborative process through years of mutually beneficial relationships with institutions nationwide to understand and address challenges like climate change, HIV and youth homelessness.

DU’s current research efforts have been featured in news outlets like The New York Times. They include…

  • exploring the effects of felony disenfranchisement.
  • employing lasers as the medium for quantum science.
  • using theatre to heal and rehabilitate inmates.

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About the Project

Rigor, Relevance, and Responsibility was established in partnership between the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy and partner schools such as the College of William & Mary. While academic research into policy-engaged subjects is central to a progressing modern society, too often, the scholars being asked to conduct the research are not presented with the real-world effects of their work (or if any real-world impact can be found). 

With a focus on responsibility in academia, the program seeks to train researchers in the skills needed to determine whether a research topic merits study, and whether that study will have negative impacts on human lives around the world.

Discover Research at DU

Cullen Hendrix

Cullen Hendrix is the director of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy and a professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. His research has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, and he holds research appointments at the University of Texas and the Colorado School of Mines. Focused on political conflict, environmental policy, and the politics of economic development, his work has also been cited in policy documents such as the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and the G7's A New Climate for Peace report. He also directs the Environment, Food and Conflict (ENFOCO) Lab at the Korbel School.