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European Parliament sets up working group on ethics in research and science

The European Parliament's Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy has established a working group on ethics in European science and research.

The new group will be open to all MEPs as well as representatives from other institutions. It will focus initially...
The European Parliament's Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy has established a working group on ethics in European science and research.

The new group will be open to all MEPs as well as representatives from other institutions. It will focus initially on ethical questions related to research into the life sciences and the Information Society. These two fields will be key areas in the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, and ethical questions are expected to become more and more prominent as research in these areas advances.

The Committee decided to set up the working group after holding a public hearing at which experts discussed with MEPs the major issues raised by research in the two fields. The working group, to be chaired by Mrs. Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, vice-president of the Committee, will aim to give politicians ethical guidelines in the research field. In addition, however, it will address specific questions, such as:

- How to bring together research, industry, religion, consumers and medical associations, farmers, environmentalists and animal protection;
- How to assess the positive and negative effects of research;
- Does the Internet obey any laws, what are the rules and policies governing the Information Society and what are the approaches to crime, data protection and encryption?
- Are human biobanks to be allowed to operate commercially?
- How can privacy be protected?

Concluding the hearing, Alain Pompidou, the Committee member who organized it, stated that the EU can play an important role in the field of ethics and research. However, in the era of globalization, the views and values of other cultures must be taken into account.

Source: European Parliament

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