ethics in science and technology
Who are we?Edinethics Ltd. is a Scottish Registered Company 323601, based in Edinburgh
Managing Director is Dr Donald Bruce BSc, PhD (Chem), DipTh, PhD (Theol), FRSA
Company Secretary : Dr Ann Bruce, PhD, BSc, MSc
Summary : Dr Donald Bruce is managing director of the ethics consultancy Edinethics Ltd. incorporated in May 2007. He holds doctorates in chemistry and theology. From 1976-92 he worked in nuclear energy research, safety and risk regulation, and Government energy policy. From 1992-2007 he was Director of the Church of Scotland's Society, Religion and Technology Project (SRT), pioneering the examination of ethical and societal issues in emerging technologies, notably on GM crops and animals, cloning and stem cells, and nanotechnologies. He has also worked on the ethics of technological risk, gene patenting, sustainable development and climate policy. He is a regular speaker, writer and broadcaster on bioethics nationally and internationally. He is also much involved in public participation in science, especially with the New Economics Foundation (nef) on the Democs card games.
Ann Bruce is the Company Secretary, and has a BSc in agriculture, an MSc in animal genetics and a PhD in social science (on the role of values and interests in genetic disputes), as well as a diploma in administration and information management. After many years in pig breeding and genetics development in industry, she was scientific administrator at Roslin Institute from 2003-08. Since 2007 she has been a Senior Research Fellow in the social science school at Edinburgh University, in the ESRC Innogen Centre for genomics and society, currently researching emerging animal technologies and agricultural innovation and knowledge transfer from academic environmental research to commercial companies. She and Donald have collaborated on a number of projects including the Engineering Genesis study (which they co-edited) and Democs games.
Nanotechnology : Since 2003 Dr Bruce has worked extensively on nano- and converging technology issues, in many EC and UK contexts. He was a member of the ground-breaking Ethical Legal and Social Aspects board of the EC FP6 Nano2Life European Network of Excellence 2004-08, for which he wrote the first scoping paper on ethical and social issues of nanobiotechnology, and was involved in various initiatives to promote dialogue with scientists in the programme. He was a partner in the FP6 EC NanoBioRAISE science
and society programme, 2005-08, in which he ran an expert working group on human enhancement, and created a nanobiotechnology Democs game for public engagement. He is a partner in a new 3-year FP7 programme ETHENTECH on public engagement and ethical/social issues on human implants which began in 1 July 2009. He is a member of the advisory board of the Institute of Nanotechnology and gave its annual Albert Franks lecture at the Royal Society in 2007. He was a member of the Nanotechnology Engagement Group assessment
of UK public engagement activities on nanotechnologies. He is a member of the DEFRA nanotechnology stakeholder forum. He has been a consultant for the UK code of practice nanotechnology and a respondent on its EC equivalent. He created the ethics section of the Nano&Me website for public engagement on nanotechnologies.
Stem cells : Through his involvement with leading researchers in cloning at Roslin and then in stem cells, he played signficant roles in the development of ethical thinking and regulation in both these fields in the UK and Europe. He has continued to study new and emerging aspects of this rapidly changing field. He is currently responsible for ethical assessment in the EC FP7 ESNATS project (Embryonic Stem cell-based Novel Alternative Testing Strategies) on the use of human embryonic stem cells to test pharmaceuticals for toxicity and as alternatives to animal testing, which raises several searching new ethical issues.
Genetic Modification and Synthetic Biology : He led a ground-breaking multi-disciplinary expert study of GM crops and animals from 1993-98. The resulting book Engineering Genesis anticipated most of the issues the subsequent GM food controversy. Its balanced views were widely recognised. He created a Democs public engagement tool for the 2003 UK 'GM Nation?' consultation, organised senior consultations at St George's House Windsor Castle, and was the European member of a group advising the US biotechnology industry on a code of ethics for GM crops. Currently he is working on the emerging and related field of synthetic bioloogy, as a member of the UK SynBioStandards network, and in creating a synthetic biology Democs public engagement game for the ESRC Genomics Forum and the Scottish Government.
Environment and Energy : From his background in energy issues, he worked on ethical thinking on sustainable development and climate change in the 1990's. He was instrumental in setting up the Eco-Congregation Programme for the churches in Scotland, was a founder member of the European Christian Environment Network (ECEN), and a director of the John Ray Initiative for environmental education in churches.
Public Engagement : Dr Bruce has done a wide range of public engagement work on biotechnology-related issues. He has worked since 2001 with the New Economics Foundation in the development of Democs card games for ad hoc local groups to examine complex issues on various technology issues including stem cells, genetic testing, GM crops (he co-wrote the game used in the 2003 GM Nation debate), nanobiotechnology (for the EC NanoBio-Raise programme), human enhancement, stem cells for pharmaceutical testing, and synthetic biology (for the ESRC Genomics Forum and the Scottish Government). He is also a member of nef's 'Open-up' argument map project, to widen public debate on ethically important technical issues.
He has given talks and led discussions with a broad range of publics. He has organised annual public lectures and debates on ethical issues at the Edinburgh International Science Festival from 1993-2003, and has done similar events with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee science centres, UK research councils (BBSRC, EPSRC and ESRC), and in Cafe Scientifique discussions in Scotland and Finland. He has been an advisor to Y-Touring Theatre Company on its educational productions on cloning (Learning to Love the Grey) and on stem cells. He provided the expert ethical input for the Food Standards Agency Scotland in a series of focus groups for low income families on GM food, for schools discussions on GM issues at the Glasgow and Dundee science centres, and for on Scottish and European (EMBO) summer schools in genetics for biology teachers. He was on the advisory panel of the 2007 HFEA consultation on animal-human hybrid cells, and was an expert ethical presenter for the 2008 BBSRC/MRC stem cells public consultation.
UK Advisory Bodies : He has been a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee, the Societal Issues Panel of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Public Affairs advisory group of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. He was a member of the 2007 Office of Science and Innovation horizon scanning programme, advising the Government Chief Scientist on future social and ethical issues in technology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Honorary Senior Fellow in Ethics of the Scottish Agricultural College.
European and International Committees : He has been an official observer to the Global Summit of National Bioethics Committees 1998, 2000, and the Bioethics Committees of UNESCO and the Council of Europe. He has made invited presentations to the EC European Group on Ethics and was a member of the ethics committee of the European Technology Platform on Nanotechnology. He was an expert advisor to the European Patent Office in its scenario planning of future societal issues in technology. He has been a member of the bioethics committee of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) from 1993-2009, its environment and economics working group from 1994-99, and of working groups of the World Council of Churches on bioethics and climate change.