Responsible Public Engagement

Academic research often aims to improve social outcomes, but engagement with policymakers can present ethical dilemmas. This is especially true during crises or moments of rapid change. Our ongoing work on Responsible Public Engagement, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, aims to generate self-reflection and conversation related to the ethical questions around policy engagement. The project includes research, outreach, and teaching components. You can find more information on these elements on our Ethical Engagement Website

Responsible Public Engagement in Action


Our research investigates general attitudes and practices of academics toward policy engagement in three ways. First, in partnership with the Global Research Institute, we are collecting and analyzing survey data of academics in the international relations field. Second, we are collecting carefully crafted reflections that detail how scholars in particular engagement positions have managed the ethical dilemmas they face. Third, faculty members on our team are continuing their individual research on uncertainty, ethics, and policy engagement.


In our outreach activities, we connect with peace and security scholars as well as scholars focused more broadly on comparative and global public policy issues across the world. We have established an Ethical Engagement Panel, a tool for asking Anonymous Advice on Ethical Engagement, and are fostering interactions with an expanded and broader pool of policy-engaged scholars who think critically about what it means to bring their expertise to bear on pressing policy issues.


Our teaching brings students and early career faculty—the new generation of researchers, practitioners, and leaders—into the conversation. We offer material from our Responsible Public Engagement Institute in partnership with other engaged scholar networks, and are developing new practicum courses in partnership with policy organizations.

“We've been truly impressed by the scholarly collaboration at the Sié Center—how the team has thought intentionally about building the center, engaging with a broad range of policy professionals at each step, and maintaining an intense rigor in their research."

Aaron Stanley, Program Analyst, Carnegie Corporation

Featured Publications

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    Read all Data & Analysis produced through the Responsible Public Engagement Initiative on the Ethics of Engagement website. 

    Deborah Avant, Naazneen H Barma, George DeMartino and Ilene Grabel. 2024. "The ethics of engaged scholarship in a complex world." International Affairs, Volume 100, Issue 1, Pages 159–180.

    George DeMartino and Ilene Grabel. 2020. "Roundtable: Control in Crisis: A Discussion of COVID-19 and the Futility of Control in the Modern World” by Andy Stirling and Ian Scoones.

    George DeMartino and Ilene Grabel. “Irreparable Ignorance, Protean Power, and Economics,” contribution to symposium in International Theory on Protean Power: Exploring the Uncertain and Unexpected in World Politics (Peter J. Katzenstein and Lucia A. Seybert, eds.)