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The Institutionalisation of Ethics in Science Policy; practices and impact (INES) - EU-Project on it's way [02.02.2005]

Debates on technological developments touch fundamental ethical considerations and uncover wide mistrust in public authorities and scientific establishments. Policy makers have reacted by incorporating ethics into the decision making processes of S&T policy. Different nations have different ways of doing this, ranging from advisory expert committees to open debates with relevant stakeholders. The form and method in which ethics is incorporated in S&T varies greatly throughout Europe and its actual impact in decision making is still unclear.

INES brings together a group of European experts in the area of S&T ethics and the relevant policy making community, to analyse comparatively the manner by which ethics is incorporated into the official decision making structures. The analysis is done in terms of representations of the "ethical problem"; understanding of the concepts "ethics vs morality", "ethics vs bioethics"; the notion of ethical "expert"; and consideration of lay values in the decision making process.

Informed by public perceptions research on "ethics" and paying particular attention to gender differences, the project will explore case studies presenting particular challenges for the incorporation of ethics in decision making (medical genetics, genetic databases and food technologies). The differences in the understanding of the ethical issues and the incorporation approaches chosen will provide the basis for the creation of a "European map" which will be critically examined in terms of impact assessment and best practices.

The ultimate goal of INES is to create a pan-European platform where ethics experts, policy makers and relevant stakeholders can debate, exchange information, identify "best practices" and devise ways to improve the input and impact of ethics in the actual decision making process.

Project Team at ITAS: Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald, Dr. Leonhard Hennen (TAB)

The project is carried out on behalf of the European Commission and has a duration of three years (Feb. 2004 - Feb. 2006). It is conducted in cooperation with the following partners:

Weiterführende Links:

  • CESAGen - ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Lancaster University; UK (Project-Coordination)
    INES project description at CESAGen CESAGen Homepage
  • Uob - Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, The University of Birmingham; UK
  • KUN - University of Nijmegen, Centre for Society and Genomics; The Netherlands
  • CSSC - Centre for Science, Society and Citizenship; Italy
  • fBBVA - Fundación BBVA; Spain
  • STS Centre - Centre of Science, Technology, Society Studies at the Institute of Philosophy, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; Czech Republic
  • IS - Academy of Sciences of Bulgaria, Institute of Sociology; Bulgaria
  • RATHENAU - Rathenau Institute; The Netherlands
  • POST - Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology; UK
  • viWTA - Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment; Belgium
  • TA SWISS - Centre for Technology Assessment at the Swiss Science and Technology Council; Switzerland
  • Project description on the ITAS-Web