Professor Endres (Communication)
wins $500,000 National Science Foundation Grant
Associate Professor of Communication Danielle Endres and her co-PI Tarla Rai Peterson (Texas A&M) were awarded a $499,541.00 three-year collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation's Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Division. Professor Endres' portion of the award is $249,543.00. The grant, titled "The Influence of Low-Carbon Energy Technology Scientists and Engineers on the Composition of Energy Policy," supports an investigation of how low-carbon energy scientists and engineers talk about the social, cultural, and political implications of their technologies and how they influence policymaking. In addition to other elements of the project, the grant will provide University of Utah funding for a full time graduate students, and a part time undergraduate student for three years.
This project adopts a unique approach by examining how scientists and engineers manage boundaries between science and policy in internal conversations among themselves. Previous research suggests that scientists and engineers primarily use technical scientific forms of reasoning in conversations amongst fellow scientists and engineers and only employ non-technical, or value-based, forms of reasoning when interacting with the broader public. This research seeks to discover whether (and how) engineers and scientists blend technical and non-technical modes of reasoning and how they navigate the boundaries between science and policy. Using rhetorical and ethnographic methods, Endres and Peterson will collect and analyze the discourse of wind and nuclear energy scientists and engineers.
The research will advance our knowledge about how scientists and engineers employ forms of reasoning and engage with politics/policy issues in conversation amongst themselves. It will significantly enhance our understanding of the rhetorical and argumentation patterns of interdisciplinary dialogue among scientists and engineers. Further, the project's integration of Science Technology and Society (STS) and Rhetoric of Science (RoS) research—traditionally separate areas of research—will better understanding of scientific forms of reasoning across both disciplines provide a model for future cross-disciplinary research between STS and RoS.