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spacerIDEESE: Cases

 IDEESE is developing a series of case studies that may be used in conjunction with their modules. The cases are directed specifically at graduate science and engineering students and, with the IDEESE modules, work to address the international dimensions of ethics that these students may face in their careers. Each case study package includes a series of appendices that allow instructors to pair different appendices with different modules and effectively tailor their course sessions to their particular students or to address relevant or appropriate topics for their individual classes.

Case Websites:


Bhopal Plant Disaster: The Bhopal case is an in-depth study of the industrial accident at the Union Carbide factory in India that immediately killed 2,000 people, injured another 200,000 to 300,000 more, and immediately raised questions about plant safety and corporate responsibility around the world. Includes seven detailed appendices: A.) Chronology, B.) Stakeholders and Level of Responsibility, C.) Economic/industrial climate of India, D.) Union Carbide Corporation, E.) Issues in Chemical Processing, F.) Assessing Responsibility: The Legal/Regulatory System, G.) Assessing Responsibility: The Engineers and Scientists, and H.) Technical Expertise and Managerial Responsibility.



Reporting Incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS): The SARS case is an in-depth study of the 2002-2003 global outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It focuses specifically on how information about the disease was shared among countries. It includes six appendices: A.) Chronology, B.) WHO cooperation against disease, C.) The Chinese Context, D.) Information about SARS, E.) Additional Readings for Students and Instructors, and F.) Internet Resources.



The EU-US Dispute over Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms, Plants, Feeds, and Foods:
The EU-US Dispute over Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms, Plants, Feeds, and Foods case is a study of the divergence of regulatory standards for genetically modified plants, feeds, and food in the US and in European countries.  It focuses on the European Union’s moratorium of approval of new genetically modified organisms and the World Trade Organization’s consequent ruling.  Appendices include:  A.) Chronology, B.) Background on EU Regulatory Process and Regulations, C.) Background on US Regulatory Process and Regulations, D.) Exercise: Summarizing Levels of Ethical Concern and Scientific Uncertainty, E.)  Ethical Evaluation of Using Genetically Modified Organisms and Plants, F.) Optional Additional Readings, and G.) Internet Resources.


stem cell Recruitment of Egg Donors by South Korean Stem Cell Researchers
This case study examines the controversy surrounding Dr. Hwang Woo-suk's recruitment of egg donors for his team's stem cell research from 2002 through 2005. It explores the international dimensions of ethical standards, the political decentralization of global regulation, and the internationalization of science. Appendices include A.) a detailed chronology, B.) a suggested bibliography, C.) background on South Korean reglations, and D.) background on international ethics standards
sardovar Narmada Dams Controversy
This case study looks at one of the more famous instances of transnational involvement in stakeholder struggles over large dams: the long-running contention over dam construction on the Narmada Rover in India. Though proposals to build large dams on the Narmada inspired political controversy from the day the first proposals were made in 1947-48, only in the mid-1980s did the controversy take on the transnational aspects for which it is now famous as critics took up the cause of those who would be displaced as the reservoirs created by the dams filled up and raised environmental concerns about the project. Appendices include A.) Chronology, B.) Indian Tribunal Decisions regarding the Narmada Dams, C.) Indian National Water Policies, D.) The Major Narmada Dams, E.) Useful Websites, F.) Additional Readings, G.) Current Practices Regarding Large Dams, and H.) Materials for Instructors

drugs Access to HIV Treatments in Developing Countries
This case explores the challenges faced by developing countries, where HIV is widely prevalent, in providing their citizens access to HIV medications.  Supplying consistent treatments of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) medications continue to be an obstacle due to its high costs in relation to individual income and government health budgets, and the strict patent laws governing them when attempting to domestically produce generics at a much lower price.  Other barriers such as lack of medical facilities, outlay of tests and availability of clinics, coupled with the social stigma of HIV and AIDS, prevent persons infected from seeking treatment. Appendices include:  A) Chronology; B: Intergovernmental Policy Statements relating to HIV Treatment; C) Views on Intellectual Property Rights in Drugs; D) Two Views on Drug Prices; E) Understanding Drug Patents; F) Useful Websites; G) Pharmaceutical Companies

dna Asilomar Conference On Laboratory Precautions When Conducting Recombinant DNA Research
This case is an in-depth summary on an extensively controversial conference held at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove California, in 1973, where approximately 100 leading scientists in the field convened to formulate safety measures to direct the development of recombinant DNA technology in the United States.  It resulted in subsequent discussions, including the conception of a proposed regulated guidelines and risk categories for rDNA experiments.  These procedures were adopted and widely used by the US Government today.  Appendices include:  A.) Chronology; B.) Views on the Asilomar Process; C.) Members of Groups Central to the Scientists’ Debates about rDNA Research 1973-76; D.) Biographical Notes on Scientists involved in the Asilomar Process; E.) Ethical Evaluation of Recombinant DNA Research; F.) Contemporaneous Perspectives on Recombinant DNA Research; G.) Teaching Notes; and H.) Useful Websites.

hazard Transboundary Trade in Hazardous Substances and Wastes
This case study provides an overview of environmental and health issues regarding the transboundary trade of hazardous substances such as various chemical waste, including pesticides, which can affect human condition and the environment, especially in developing countries.  Primary discussions have risen to address these concerns, and to design regulations for the proper use and legal trade of these substances.  The study also provides an in-depth analysis on the various approaches in a national and international level, to control the impact of these regulations worldwide.  Appendices include:  A.) Chronology, B.)  General Information, C.) Basel Convention Information and Documents, D.) Rotterdam Convention Information and Documents, E.) Stockholm Convention Information and Documents, F.) Useful Websites, G.) Stakeholders and Social Concerns, H.) Materials for Teachers




Funding for the International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering Project comes from the National Science Foundation through grant number 0734887. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

For additional STS Research Clusters, visit our Research Page.


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