Encouraging cross-border exchange in the field of science in society is essential when sensitive scientific or technological issues have a global dimension (e.g. climate change) and when these issues appear at both the local or individual levels worldwide (e.g. poverty). Consensus on solutions for these problems may not exist but there is a need for international dialogue and coordination in order to make effective policy possible in all regions of the world.
The information below is an overview of the ways in which the SIS Programme engages with international partners on related activities.
One of the major changes under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) was the introduction of funding for security technologies – technologies that raise major ethical concerns. The need for discussions relating to security and privacy, notably in the field of biometrics, was demonstrated at the first series of international conferences ever held on this topic in Brussels, Belgium in 2005 and Washington DC, US in 2006.
The HIDE (Homeland Security, Biometric Identification & Personal Detection Ethics) and RISE (Rising Pan European and International Awareness of Biometrics and Security Ethics) projects have also been funded to enhance international dialogue in this field.
The objective of the NANOCODE (A Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Providing Inputs to Implement the European Code of Conduct for Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies (N&N) Research) project, which began in January 2010, is to define and develop a framework aimed at supporting the successful integration and implementation (at European level and beyond) of the European Commission’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies (N&N) research. The project involves partners from Argentina and South Africa, and is open to collaborations with other third countries interested in N&N research. Read more.
During the last decade, substantial advances have been made in building a robust infrastructure in Europe to monitor and review ethical issues with regard to science and technological research.
Ethics advisory and/or review bodies have become an integral part of the research system at local, national and international levels. Further efforts are required to enhance both the knowledge base these bodies can tap into, and the coherence of their respective work practices, reviews and opinions across the board. For example, support is needed for international exchange of best practice, capacity building, and for access to relevant literature and resources.
The following projects have been funded to support infrastructures for international dialogue: ETHICSWEB (Inter-connected European Information and Documentation System for Ethics and Science: European Ethics Documentation Centre; EURECNET (European Network of Research Ethics Committees); and INNOVA-P2 (Pharma-Innovation – Patent 2).