Research News

Center for Ethics and Education to launch competition to fund philosophical research

August 01, 2015

The Center for Ethics and Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the only academic center of its kind in the United States, is preparing to launch its first competition to fund philosophical research related to educational policy and practice. The application period for the awards, which can total up to $40,000 each, will begin in September and end Nov. 2. The center plans to offer two rounds of awards each year, with deadlines in the fall and spring.

Harry Brighouse
"We seek diverse kinds of philosophical research, ranging from the highly abstract to the highly applied," states center director Harry Brighouse, a UW-Madison professor of philosophy and educational policy studies. "We encourage applicants to understand educational policy and practice in broad terms, including issues that directly relate to K-12 schools and higher education institutions, and those that influence childhood development in the family and other institutions."

The competition is open to scholars who have earned doctorates and are affiliated with a college, university or non-profit research facility that is willing to serve as the fiscal agent for the grant. Proposals may address a variety of educational topics. Some examples include:

• proper content of moral education and the rights of parents to choose its content

• place of religion in schools

• justice and efficiency in allocating public funds across schools and school districts

• obligations to special needs students

• ethical considerations in college admissions and enrollment

• commercialization of schools and childhoods

In the proposals, applicants must describe a central problem to be investigated along with its significance and place in the relevant literature, and identify the proposed work, timeline and goals to be delivered.

The Center for Ethics and Education began operation this spring with funding from a $3.5 million grant from the Spencer Foundation.  Its goal is to encourage contemporary moral and political philosophers to apply their tools and perspectives to concrete problems in education. A project of the UW-Madison and University of Illinois at Chicago philosophy departments, and UW-Madison’s Department of Educational Policy Studies, the center is housed at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research within the university’s top-ranked public school of education.

A short online application form will be available on the center’s website starting in September. For information, email Paula McAvoy.