What is Science for?
Posted: 10 Jun 2008
What is science for, what good does it do and should it do good? In this lecture, Sulston and Harris will attempt to identify some of the most urgent ethical and regulatory problems raised by contemporary science, and suggest some possible solutions. They will discuss some key cutting edge scientific problems, and debate how we can assess their impact. Where do the significant ethical and regulatory dilemmas for science lie? Are we worrying about the right things? They will also address the crucial issue of international or "global" co-ordination at the level of regulation. What happens when research is illegal - criminalised in some jurisdictions and permitted in others or when products or services are freely available in some countries and denied to the citizens of others? Is harmonization necessary or can we live with a plurality of regulatory environments? Finally, they will raise the question of who owns science. They will suggest that scientific co-operation - the freedom of science to operate across frontiers, regulatory boundaries and share information freely between scientists and institutions - carries with it certain responsibilities. They will argue that equity and morality require open access and benefit sharing. And they will suggest what such benefit sharing might amount to. Professor Sir John Sulston is a Nobel Prize winner and Chair of the University of Manchester's Institute of Science, Ethics and Innovation, a new research institute focusing on the ethical questions raised by science and technology in the 21st century. Professor John Harris is the Lord David Alliance Professor of Bioethics, and research director at the University of Manchester's Institute of Science, Ethics and Innovation. Professor Richard Dawkins is Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.