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Request for Proposals: Instructional Designer: Training modules for artificial intelligence (AI) developers on ethics and human rights

AAAS seeks an instructional designer to develop training modules for a “Public Interest AI 101” course for developers to share best practices related to ethics and human rights. The instructional designer should have expertise in developing online (especially video-based) training courses for different audiences. Experience working with technologists, other professionals, and students working in computer science, ethics, or other fields relevant to the development and application of AI is a plus.

Diversity at all levels is critical to the AAAS mission. We recognize and honor diversity in race, ethnicity, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, and religion and are a leader in promoting the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and the importance of bringing a breadth of perspectives and backgrounds to the scientific enterprise.


Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world’s largest multi-disciplinary science society, fulfilling its mission to advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people through a broad array of initiatives focused on communication, public engagement, education, scientific responsibility, diversity and inclusion, public policy, and science diplomacy. AAAS speaks on behalf of science in public issues and its programs promote integrity and diversity; advance communication among scientists, engineers, and the public; and advance science literacy.

Through Science and the Science family of journals, we reach more than one million people each week with news about the most promising, cutting-edge research. Our more than 120,000 members span disciplines and sectors across the globe, and more than 260 affiliated societies and academies of science serve 10 million individuals.

The AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program (SRHRL) promotes high standards for the practice of science and engineering; advances the right to science; monitors and enhances assessment of emerging ethical, legal, and human rights issues related to science and technology; and promotes the responsible use of science in public policy. SRHRL is the lead Program for the AAAS Artificial Intelligence: Applications, Implications or (AI)², initiative and will be the main point of contact for the instructional designer developing the training modules.

Scope of Work

After selection, the instructional designer will be asked to:

  1. Based on a needs assessment and list of required outcomes provided by AAAS, advise AAAS on the best way to design and develop the training;
  2. Create a course outline based on content provided by AAAS;
  3. Develop draft modules based on content provided by AAAS and revise them based on feedback from AAAS, the project advisory committee, and other stakeholders;
  4. Develop the final modules, as well as a platform to host them.

More details about the project deliverables are provided below.


We recognize the value that new technologies such as AI can bring to our lives. We also acknowledge the risks that exist that not all of society will be equally or beneficially served by such technologies. Developers’ approach to designing AI-based technologies can 1) contribute to the continuation of drivers of inequality, 2) reflect an awareness that intentionally refrains from perpetuating them, or, optimally, 3) proactively redress these challenges. The goal of the AAAS (AI)² initiative is to specifically provide guidelines and guardrails, motivations and models that will help the technology community and society as a whole transform the power of artificial intelligence (broadly defined) into a tool that alleviates, rather than exacerbates, existing social inequalities. To benefit all members of society, AI innovations must be intentionally and responsibly developed, and their application must address the possible impact disparities new technologies have on marginalized populations.

The Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program of AAAS has received a grant to address these issues. The key outcomes of the grant include:

  • development and adoption of a pro bono model for public interest technology, accompanied by implementation of a robust evaluation process to identify impacts, benefits and challenges, and creation of a peer network to share lessons learned and good practices;
  • articulation and widespread agreement on principles and practices of public interest technology; and
  • acculturation - through training and implementation of relevant processes - of those principles in the practice of technology research and development.

Alongside other activities aimed at these key outcomes, AAAS plans to develop and disseminate training that will be broadly adopted and incorporated for developers who work in industry and/or academic institutions, reaching people who are designing AI tools as well as people who are learning to do so. These resources will encourage consideration of the values of public interest, including equity, accountability, and fairness, and how to leverage the development of these technologies to challenge inequality as a foundational part of the AI research and development process. AAAS will engage developers to identify training needs, develop and pilot the course, and disseminate the training modules to developers in industry, academia, and beyond.

The format and content of the training will be shaped by input from potential users, civil society partners, and members of the project advisory committee. We envision that the final product will consist of approximately five modules, each with two primary components: a series of online videos and a Discussion and Resource Guide. The videos should consist of short dramatizations aimed at provoking discussion on a series of public interest topics likely to confront AI developers. They should present realistic, concrete problems, but offer no closure to the dilemmas faced by the participants, thus making them ideal for stimulating discussion. For each case, the Discussion and Resource Guide should provide an abstract, a summary of key issues, a set of discussion questions, and definitions of key terms. A compilation of resources will also be included for further reading or reference in preparing for the use of the course as part of a broader educational effort.

The Scope of Work is to be completed over 18 months. All meetings and tasks will be conducted virtually.

  • Initial Visioning Session and Outline: After selection, the instructional designer will participate in an initial visioning session with AAAS staff and the project’s advisory committee, which includes experts on AI ethics by design, the work and needs of AI developers, online and adult education, and AI and human rights. AAAS will provide the instructional designer with a needs assessment explaining why the training is needed and a list of required outcomes. Based on this session, the instructional designer will advise AAAS on the best way to design and develop the training. Next, based on a content summary provided by AAAS, the instructional designer will develop a course outline and share it with AAAS and the advisory committee for review and feedback. The outline should include a schematic/wireframe that makes clear how the content will be presented.
  • Module Production: Based on scripts and additional content provided by AAAS, the instructional designer will create the modules and a Discussion and Resource Guide as described above. The modules should incorporate video, animation, and/or text as appropriate, following best practices in instructional design, and ensure the final product follows recognized standards (such as Section 508) for accessibility.
  • Revise Based on Stakeholder Feedback: The instructional designer will revise the draft modules based on feedback from the advisory committee, AAAS, and civil society partners. The advisory committee will then be asked to approve the modules to be sent on to two institutions (one private sector company and one cohort of developers in academia) for piloting before wider distribution, or to be sent back to the instructional designer for further revisions.
  • Platform to Host Modules: The consultant will develop the platform where the modules will be hosted (e.g., YouTube playlist, SCORM file hosted on AAAS or another website) and that can be shared with the organizations that pilot the modules. This platform should also host the final versions of the modules.
  • Final Product: After the modules are piloted by pilot organizations and reviewed by civil society partners, the instructional designer will make final revisions to the modules based on their feedback.


  • Deliverable 1: Course outline
  • Deliverable 2: Draft modules
  • Deliverable 3: Revised modules for approval by advisory committee and distribution to pilot organizations
  • Deliverable 4: Final modules based on pilot phase feedback

All deliverables are to be completed within 18 months of contract start date.


Please send proposals by May 31, 2022 to:

Theresa Harris
Interim Program Director
Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005 USA

Kindly send proposals electronically.

Please include in your proposal:

  • Full contact information
  • A description of your relevant experience, specifically addressing the outcomes included above
  • Proposed timeline for returning deliverables
  • Budget Estimate for requested services and any add-ons, with a means to calculate
  • A resumé or CV
  • Portfolio with examples of your past work
  • Recommendations from previous and existing clients or employers
  • ADA or other accessibility features that can be provided

We anticipate making decisions within two weeks of the proposal deadline. The AAAS point of contact reviews proposals with an internal management team, who makes the final recommendation for internal consideration.

Decision Factors

  • Information provided in the response to the RFP
  • Overall cost of services
  • Ability of vendor to provide high level of service and creative problem solving
  • Recommendations from previous and existing clients