News

Both the project and activities of experts involved in the project have generated a considerable amount of media interest. This page is intended to identify links within the media around the world to the project and activities of project experts but also provide updates of activity in the form of project press releases.

Project Press Releases

Anna Salleh
ABC Science

Artificial Life Research Triggers Concerns

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

 

G8 Statement on the 7th Review Conference for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention: Meeting of Foreign Ministers, 14-15 March 2011

 Statement endorses dual-use bioethics education...

 see paragraph 9:

"The involvement of civil society, particularly the academic and industrial sectors, is essential to the effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention. We will therefore step up such engagement to fully take account of scientific and technical developments in the biological area. We will likewise work on better awareness raising among those involved in the development of life sciences in order to limit the possibilities of misuse of technical developments, including supporting dual-use education programs on bioethics."

Click here to read the full G8 Statement 

 

INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR TO DISCUSS EXPLOITATION OF SCIENCE FOR WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT - 1st July 10

Key issues around global security will be discussed at an international seminar to be held in Bradford later this month. The Bradford Disarmament Research Centre and the Wellcome Trust Bioethics Group is hosting an international seminar 'Dual-use education for life scientists: mapping the current global landscape and developments' on 14-16 July 2010 at the Hilton Hotel, Bradford.  The focus of the seminar is the increasing risk of the dual-use of peaceful scientific research for the purpose of developing lethal weapons, an urgent global security issue.    

International experts from the UK, USA, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, the Netherlands and the United Nations, Geneva, will participate in the event. Ongoing developments in a range of scientific research areas (such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology, neuroscience and phytopathology, among others) are at risk of being exploited for the development of lethal weapons by rogue groups, states and individuals. This is the "dual-use" scenario. 
The Wellcome Trust Bioethics Group is working on the development of effective global and local education policies, practice and ethics-based codes of conduct as a means to minimise the risks of dual-use within the global scientific community. 

This seminar will provide an overview of current levels of dual-use awareness and ensuing action in countries that have already begun to address this challenge. Recommendations for further work on the dissemination of dual-use awareness and engagement with other countries and organisations will be presented to the United Nations in Geneva in December 2010. Dr Judi Sture, the Head of the University's Graduate School, who is leading the event said: "The recent announcement by US scientists that they have created a self-replicating bacteria cell in the laboratory has raised again the need for urgent and effective ethical scrutiny of biological research. In 2008 there was a call from the United Nations in Geneva for the education of scientists in this area to be highlighted and developed.  "Our seminar in Bradford brings together international experts from the fields of education, politics, science, national associations and the commercial scientific community to share progress and discuss further advances that will enable us to improve the ethical education and scrutiny-skills of scientists and those associated with their work."

The event is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.  A further event will be held in Tokyo, Japan, in January 2011, funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, a Japanese governmental agency.

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WELLCOME TRUST - Tuesday 23 December 2008

New funding to enhance UK biomedical ethics research

Three new grants totalling more than £1 million to support the best research in biomedical ethics have been awarded by the Wellcome Trust, it was announced today.

Enhancement Awards in Biomedical Ethics were made to research groups based at Oxford University, Cambridge University and a collaboration between the universities of Bradford, Exeter and Bath. The three grants are each about £350,000 and will be used to strengthen collaborations and support new research fellowships and studentships.

Specific research areas being funded by the awards include the ethics of international research, new family forms arising from new assisted reproductive technologies, and the so-called `dual use' of biological research findings in warfare and bioterrorism.

The Wellcome Trust funds research into ethical issues that arise in the development and delivery of healthcare in the UK and developing countries. It also helps to ensure that the findings of biomedical ethics research are passed on to policy makers and healthcare practitioners to help inform their decisions.

Clare Matterson, the Wellcome Trust's Director of Medicine, Society and History, said: "The nature of biomedical research means it is constantly challenging our ideas about the world, ourselves and our health. Research into ethical issues surrounding medical science and healthcare is essential if our society is going to be able to make informed decisions about research and medicine."

The Ethics of Collaborative Global Health Research: a network to build capacity in the UK and developing countries
Professor Michael Parker, Director of The Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford, and colleagues will focus on the ethics of collaborative global health research, working with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). The Collaborative Global Health Research Ethics Network will build ethics expertise and capacity both in the United Kingdom and in developing countries. Research will focus on four themes: community engagement, global ethics governance, the ethics of research collaboration, and the roles and responsibilities of research actors. The Award will fund studentships, the development of online resources and a range of training activities.

Redefining Families: Bioethics, assisted reproduction and emerging family forms
Professor Susan Golombok and her colleagues are based at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge. As a multidisciplinary team, including psychologists, sociologists, biologists and clinicians, they have pioneered research addressing ethical issues raised by assisted reproductive technologies, including IVF, sperm donation and surrogacy. The Award will enable the Centre to collaborate with expert biomedical ethicists on research projects as new family forms emerge in the 21st century. It will also support workshops and conferences as well as PhD studentships and visiting fellowships.

Building a sustainable capacity in dual-use bioethics
Professor Malcolm Dando and colleagues at the University of Bradford¿s Department of Peace Studies, together with Dr Brian Rappert in the Department of Sociology and Philosophy, University of Exeter, and Dr Alexander Kelle in the Department of European Studies, University of Bath, are collaborating on research into the use of the products of biological research in warfare and bioterrorism. Their aim is to enable more bioethical research into so-called `dual-use' of the life sciences, and help develop policies and practices that will prevent the misuse of knowledge generated through biomedical research. It is an emerging research area, and the Enhancement Award will help provide career opportunities for young researchers, including doctoral students who will begin their studies in autumn 2009, increase long-term capacity, engage practising life scientists with these issues, and provide a basis for developing effective policies in the future.

ENDS
Media enquiries
Michael Regnier, Wellcome Trust Media Office
T +44 (0)20 7611 7262; E m.regnier@wellcome.ac.uk

In the News

A number of news articles dealing with the project are available online, a number of examples are presented below:

 

Latest Activities

H5N1 Image

Seventh Review Conference Image

Japan Visit image Aug 2011

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ORI RH bar (9kb)

G8 statement logo (4.16kb)

 

Pugwash prize (10.6kb)

 


 

Exeter Poster (14 kb BMP)Exeter Poster (14 kb BMP)

Exeter Poster (14 kb BMP)

Latest Event

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ESRC-JSPS
Collaborative Seminar:
Dual-Use Education for
Life Scientists.

 

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Audio-Visual Material on
Dual-Use Bioethics:

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