Engaging Science & Society in the Ethics of Genome Research. Analyses - reflections – perspectives

21.09.2006 - 23.09.2006

Closing workshop of the ELSA Project "Let´s talk about GOLD!" (Organized in cooperation with the Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, IFZ, Work and Culture, Graz)

Key Speakers: Mike Burgess, Stephen Hilgartner, Hilary Rose, Mariachiara Tallacchini

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The dynamic development of genome research raises fundamental ethical and social questions concerning its implications for our societies, a fact which equally applies to other emerging technosciences such as nanotechnology or "converging technologies”. Over the past decades, methods have been developed to reflexively engage with the implications of new technoscientific knowledge for social order. Ethical reflection and public engagement with the social dimensions of technoscientific development are two traditions dealing with these issues. Though both may be argued to share common goals, their relation to each other is unclear and often controversial as is reflected in the debate around "empirical ethics”.

This workshop is the concluding event of a project, which aimed at experimenting with a cross-over between these two traditions: engaging both scientists and members of the public with the ethical dimensions of genome research. Over the period of one year, a group of people met with genome researchers at seven Round Tables to discuss the ethical and social dimensions of their concrete project and genome research in general. To develop a better understanding of this engagement and possible mutual learning processes is the central goal of this project. The workshop aims at sharing and discussing the results of the analysis with the scientific community and practitioners working on similar issues. It will be organised around four thematic foci:

  • Possibilities and limits of addressing ethics of genome research in a public engagement exercise
  • (Non)Participating in which kind of governance?: Reflecting the Round Table as a participatory setting
  • Talking science: Images, imaginations and conceptions of science/scientists as discursive elements
  • Public engagement as mutual learning: Situated perspectives and learning processes

In order to allow for ample discussion time, the workshop will be organised around four plenary sessions, an opening and a closing panel as well as a poster session. Each plenary session will have an input from one invited speaker as well as from a member of the research team. A public event in German on Thursday, September 21st will be preceding the scientific workshop in English.


Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung

University of Vienna, Kleiner Festsaal, Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring, A-1010 Wien