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The objective of this project is to coordinate a network of leading experts throughout Europe in carrying out a series of studies on the bioethical aspects of biotechnology applied to the agricultural, fisheries and food sector. These studies are also in preparation for a European conference proposed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and supported by its Committee of Ministers to aid in determining the desirability of drawing up a European Convention covering the bioethical aspects of biotechnology in this sector.

The studies will be carried out by leading scientists, ethicists and experts in the patenting and regulatory fields from throughout the European Union concerned with applications of biotechnology in the agricultural and food areas. Five Working Groups will encompass bioethical aspects of agriculture and fisheries in respect to the following areas :

Food (including animals and food processing);
Industry (including new plastics and building materials);
Developing countries.

General ethics, patenting, regulation (safety), and economic/political issues will be integrated across the five topics. Thus ethical aspects with respect to :

the sciences;
the technologies;
safety (risk/benefit);
socio-economic aspects;
intellectual property rights and patenting;
regulatory framework;
social acceptability and education

will be dealt with by each Working Group leading to bioethical conclusions. These conclusions will also include recommendations on the need for a European Convention covering bioethical aspects of biotechnology in the agro-food sector.

Each of these studies will have four main consecutive tasks :

to review the existing research, documents and other material in the respective areas;
to identify any deficiencies requiring further review and/or other work;
to conduct the appropriate work if necessary;
to draw up a report of their findings, including executive summary and annexes of key documents.

These reports will be combined as an overall final report in preparation for the subsequent European Conference.

Call for proposal

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Cambridge Biomedical Consultants
Schuystraat 12
2517 XE Den haag

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EU contribution
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Participants (23)