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European Consortium for Stem Cell Research

Final Report Summary - EUROSTEMCELL (European Consortium for Stem Cell Research)

The purpose of the project was to build the scientific foundations required to take stem cell technology to the clinic - in the form of well characterised cell lines and a solid pre-clinical skills and knowledge base. Research was focused on identifying, comparing and evaluating the properties and clinical potential of different types of stem cells. The project brought together academic and commercial researchers from across Europe, with expertise in transgenesis, stem cell biology, developmental biology, tissue repair, in vivo disease models and clinical cell transplantation.

With the aim of making stem cell research and associated issues accessible to a broad general audience aged 14 and above, the consortium has produced four short films about stem cell research and distributed 1000 DVDs to school teachers and pupils, and to museums in 38 countries worldwide. EUROSTEMCELL scientists also devised and ran a series of 26 workshops over three days in Edinburgh, Scotland, attended by more than 300 high school students. The aim of the workshops was to give participants a taste of a career in stem cell research, before making their school subject choices.

EUROSTEMCELL has also organised a range of outreach activities, including the production of four films looking at different aspects of stem cell research. All are the result of close collaboration between researchers and filmmakers, and are designed to be accessible to a broad general audience aged 14 and over. The films are ideal for classroom use, conference screenings or for individuals to view online. Produced in English, the films have subtitles and / or narration in French, German, Dutch, Italian and Swedish. One of the films, A stem cell story, won the best TV / video production award at the Tromsø Science Media Festival and Scinema Science film festival, Sydney and was selected to screen in competition at the Science Film Festival in Bangkok and at BaKaFORUM 2007. This is also available on iTunes.

The three other films focus on the ethical issues surrounding stem cell research, stem cell culture and cloning. Scientists were actively involved throughout the production and distribution process, providing many of the films' stunning image sequences, and taking on roles as diverse as script consultant, interviewee, narrator, distribution agent and translator. Instead of outsourcing the whole project to a film production company, scientists and filmmakers worked closely together in an equal partnership. The result is a series of films that present the latest developments in a cinematic and scientifically accurate way - with both parties finding the collaboration professionally and personally stimulating.