About the Research

The University of Washington’s Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE), in collaboration with the American Red Cross Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC), aim to a) bring greater understanding for transforming STEM culture through the analysis of HICT as a specific practice of ethical STEM within a socially accountable culture, b) bring humanitarian practitioners, academics and technology creators together to advance methods for ethical accountability in technology development and c) deliver and evaluate practical frameworks for cultivating culture change that enhances ethical STEM. This project is led by Affiliate Assistant Professor and Senior Researcher Dr. Robin Mays.

Equipped with academic and applied insights and approaches in the areas of socio-technical studies (STS) and human-centered design (HCD), the research seeks to address the cultural gap between technology development methods and the Red Cross’ non-negotiable humanitarian ethos by posing and answering questions about how root tensions between STEM methods and the ethical mission of humanitarian organizations are managed and resolved—successfully or not—within HICT projects.

Through a partnership led by humanitarian practitioners, with university researchers and technology creators, the research seeks to answer:

  1. How are humanitarian ethical imperatives addressed in the development, design, implementation and use of HICT?
  2. How can an understanding of these HICT interactions be translated into frameworks for successfully achieving more ethically-centered STEM cultures?

Through collaborative efforts, we seek not only expand our knowledge of what ethical STEM is and how to achieve it, but also help build a community of experts that will continue to contribute insight and practice in this critical endeavor. Through participatory, interdisciplinary analysis that integrates perspectives of practitioners, STEM experts, and beneficiaries we aim to reveal practical challenges and solutions for achieving more sustainable ethical STEM culture.  We will propose and pilot practical recommendations for facilitating change to the ethical practices of HICT design and development processes, and then evaluate their impact. With STEM researchers we will evaluate and align our outcomes with existing education, research and practice–as well as more generally for ethically-centered domains—in order to deliver practical frameworks for cultivating culture change that enhances ethical STEM in both academia and practice.


Follow the latest updates on our research!

Workshops Build Education and Interest in Red Cross/Red Crescent on Ethics in Technology

Associate Professor and Senior Researcher Robin Mays Awarded NSF Grant to Cultivate Ethical STEM

HCDE Team Receives Distinguished Article Award

Effective Preparedness Messaging

Haselkorn, Mays Bring Humanitarian Response Research to Europe

CoSSaR and ERCIS Join Forces

Valuing What Works: Success Factors in Disaster Preparedness