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NSF announces $16M program for responsible tech design with philanthropic partners

The ReDDDot initiative invites multisector and multidisciplinary team proposals that demonstrate principles, methodologies and impact aligned with responsible design.
The National Science Foundation building (Wikimedia Commons)

The National Science Foundation announced Tuesday it is partnering with five philanthropic partners through a $16 million program to boost focus on ethical and social considerations in emerging technologies.

The Responsible Design, Development and Deployment of Technologies, or ReDDDot, initiative aims to “help create technologies that promote the public’s wellbeing and mitigate potential harm,” according to a press release. ReDDDot invites multisector and multidisciplinary team proposals that demonstrate principles, methodologies and impact aligned with the project’s objective of responsible design and deployment.

“As discoveries and innovations are translated to practice, it is essential that we engage and enable diverse communities to participate in this work,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in the release. “NSF and its philanthropic partners share a strong commitment to creating a comprehensive approach for co-design through soliciting community input, incorporating community values and engaging a broad array of academic and professional voices across the lifecycle of technology creation and use.”

ReDDDoT aims to educate and train the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce on responsible creation and implementation of tech, empower all communities —including those that are “economically disadvantaged and marginalized populations” —to participate in tech development, fill gaps in research and innovation in responsible design for tech, and more. 

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One of the key goals of the program is to support and strengthen multidisciplinary collaborations and cross-sector collaborations. It focuses primarily on three technology areas outlined in the CHIPS and Science Act: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and natural and anthropogenic disaster prevention or mitigation. 

NSF has enlisted the help of the Ford Foundation, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, the Siegel Family Endowment and the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation for funding and support. 

The first phase invites proposals for workshops, planning grants or the creation of Translation Research Coordination Networks, and has a deadline of April 8. The second phase, which invites full project proposals, has a deadline of April 22.

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