Our Mission

The mission of C-STES is to produce interdisciplinary knowledge and critical thinking about the ethical, social, and policy dimensions of science, technology, and medicine.


Robot used in artificial intelligence research


  • To facilitate interdisciplinary research collaborations among faculty and students, particularly on the ways that science, technology and medicine impact rural communities and existing inequities.
  • To cultivate ethical thinking and behavior in research.
  • To expand and enhance engagement between researchers and the public in ways that benefit all stakeholders.

Research Areas:

C-STES is currently pursuing six areas of research focus.

AI/Machine Learning


Central issues

  • What are the potential social implications of relying on AI, machine learning and algorithms?
  • How do these technologies impact different social groups?
  • What are the ethical responsibilities of engineers and programmers?
  • Do these technologies change or transform what it means to be "intelligent" or human?


Internet & Data Ethics

computer code

Central issues

  • Who "owns" data?
  • How can we address concerns about privacy, confidentiality, and identity theft?
  • Should data or the way data is compiled be more transparent? 
  • How can we protect against cyber attacks or failures?
  • What are the positive and negative impacts of internet technologies and social media?


Sustainability & Justice


Central issues

  • How are different social groups impacted by environmental issues differently?
  • How can agricultural and water technologies be developed and implemented in ways that address the needs of all?
  • What is fair and just in addressing problems related to climate change?
  • How can technology be harnessed to produce alternative energy and sustainable materials?

Rural Health


Central issues:

  • What are the central health threats different rural communities and populations face?
  • What are the challenges faced by rural communities in having access to high quality and affordable healthcare?
  • How can technology and new medical interventions address these challenges?
  • How can we best combat health inequalities?



Central issues:

  • What are the potential promising applications of gene editing and engineering technologies?
  • How can such technologies result in better clinical health outcomes?
  • How can such technologies be used in agriculture, material sciences, or other interdisciplinary fields?
  • What are the potential risks or consequences of using such technologies and how can risks be minimized?
  • Who has access to such technologies? 
  • Will they contribute to or address social inequalities?


Inclusivity & Equity in STEM

inclusive group

Central issues:

  • What barriers exist that discourage ability to desire to participate in STEM disciplines?
  • How can we best overcome these challenges?
  • How are different groups and different users impacted by technology?
  • How can we design technology in ways that are inclusive?

People & Partners


C-STES Report: 2020 - 2023