Research Initiatives

It is integral to the Center's core mission that we produce ground-breaking research and endeavor to spread it, engage in public discourse, and translate our academic outputs to various contituents at Harvard and in the public. One way we have sought to do this is through several large-scale research initiatives that integrate the work of our community with related work taking place in other scholarly communities around the campus and beyond. 

To these ends, the Center currently sponsors three major initiatives: Innovation in Ethics and Civics Education; Justice, Health, and Democracy; and Tech and Human Values. 

  • Innovation in Ethics and Civics Education comprises our Ethics Pedagogy Fellowship Program; National Ethics Project; Democratic Knowledge Project; EdEthics; and an expansion of Harvard’s signature Embedded Ethics program to disciplines beyond Computer Science. At the highest level, the goal is to understand the landscape of ethics and civics education, identify and address emerging gaps and needs, and bring high-quality research and active-learning pedagogies into ethics and civics classrooms (K-16 and Professional Schools). This initiative includes the construction of expansive partnerships and online dissemination outlets in order to leverage the intellectual and financial resources of Harvard for the benefit of the broadest range of universities and schools possible.   

  • Justice, Health, and Democracy examines pre-arrest and non-arrest diversion programs that redirect low-level drug users into treatment instead of jail as a means to advance criminal justice reform. Our goal is to move the needle in criminal justice and drug policy reform to center human health and well-being instead of punishment as the guiding paradigm. JHD is a team of academics across Harvard who are leaders in their fields of law, health, criminal justice, and public policy who have been independently researching subsets of our problem and an evaluation team from the Crime and Justice Institute of Community Resources for Justice in Boston, MA. 

  • Tech and Human Values is our collaboration with Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society that will transform how technologists, scientists, public servants, enterprise leaders, and professionals learn to see and respond to ethical and governance dilemmas provoked by technology; and the Initiative will accelerate the discovery of solutions to high priority dilemmas from disinformation to algorithmic bias to gene-editing and policy based on polygenic science. Tech and Human Values leverages the University’s tremendous intellectual resources to build capacity and collaborations that empower humankind to shape technology rather than be shaped by it.