ESRC genomics network celebrates festival of social science

Tuesday 10 March 2009

The ESRC Genomics Network (EGN) will be marking the ESRC's Festival of Social Science (6-15 March 2009), with a UK wide calendar of activities for young people and adults. 

The EGN's events are an opportunity to explore some of genomic's social, ethical and political issues with academic experts, policy makers and scientists, and find out about some of the UK's most interesting social science research in this area. 

Our events this year ask whether our increased knowledge of the genetic causes of psychiatric disorders will be a source of understanding or stigmatisation, help GCSE students explore the issues surrounding embryo research, discuss whether public consultation influenced policy makers' decisions in devising the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryo Act and consider how medicines are made and how this process could change in the future. 

Everyone - from politicians to schoolchildren - can take part in the free ESRC Genomics Network events. Further information is provided below.

Future of medicine: Genetic knowledge and mental illness 
10 March 2009, Bridgend College, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan

Organised by ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen)

This workshop provides young people with knowledge about developments in psychiatric genetics and their social implications. Psychiatric disorders are stigmatising. Young people will debate the social and ethical implications of the increased knowledge of the genetic causes of psychiatric disorders; will this be a source of understanding or stigmatization?

For further information contact

Future of medicine: Innovation from bench to bedside
10 March 2009, St Joseph's College in Dumfries

Organised by: The ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (Innogen)

This workshop will explore what makes a substance or a process a prescription medicine and investigate how medicines are developed from bench to bedside. But how long does it take? How much will it cost? Who will pay for it? Who will be treated? And who decides if it's safe?

For further information contact

  • Lara Crossland, Innogen Communications & Networking Officer
    Email: lara.crossland@ed.ac.uk
    Telephone: on 0131 650 2842

Human fertilisation and embryology act: A retrospective
12 March 2009, One Great George Street, Westminster

Organised by ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum

Five months on from the passage of the sometimes controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, and with contributions from leading figures in the worlds of science, policy, ethics and the media, this 'retrospective' conference will examine the nature of the public debate leading up to the Act, and how this debate influenced the policy-making process. Speakers include: Phil Willis MP, Dr Stephen Minger, King's College London, Fiona Fox, Science Media Centre, Dr Katy Berry, Department of Health.

For further information contact

Future of medicine: Is embryo research the Limit?
12 March 2009, St Peter's School in Exeter

Organised by: The ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis)

In this interactive workshop, GCSE students will learn more about embryo research and have the opportunity to consider ethical issues of embryo research from a variety of different perspectives, exploring questions such as: What is an embryo? What is embryo research? Who decides what research is allowed to take place? Who should decide? 

For further information contact

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. The ESRC Genomics Network (EGN) is a major investment by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), dedicated to examining the development and use of the science and technologies of genomics. The activities of the EGN span the whole field of genomics, covering areas as diverse as plant and animal genetics, embryonic stem cell research, and associated health applications.
  2. The EGN spans five of the UK's leading universities, and involves over a hundred researchers, from professors to PhD students, as well as an international cast of visiting research fellows. It is one of the largest social science investments in the ESRC's current portfolio, and is growing into the largest concentration of social scientific research on genomics in the world.
  3. The Festival of Social Science is organised by the Economic and Social Research Council, and runs from March 6 to 15, alongside National Science and Engineering Week. It celebrates some of the very best British social science research, as well as highlighting the ways in which social science makes a difference to everyday lives. Press releases detailing some of the varied events are available at the Festival website.