ethics in science and technology

Edinethics Ltd
11/6 Dundonald Street
Edinburgh EH3 6RZ
Tel: +44 (0)8456 444937
Email: info@edinethics.co.uk
Web: www.edinethics.co.uk

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. His work is currently in four main fields : in animal ethics issues as a member of the UK Animals in Science Committee; on the ethics of genome editing; on ethical investments, and on developing Democs card games for enabling publics to engage with current issues in science and technology. He has also worked on the ethics of technological risk, gene patenting, sustainable development and climate policy. He has been a regular speaker, writer and broadcaster on bioethics nationally and internationally.

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. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies unit in the School of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Edinburgh. She is currently researching the resilience of upland livestock farming, in emerging animal technologies and agricultural innovation and knowledge transfer from academic environmental research to commercial companies. She previously worked for many years in pig breeding and genetics development in industry, and was Scientific Administrator at Roslin Institute from 2003-08.

Ann and Donald have collaborated on a number of projects including the Engineering Genesis study (which they co-edited), A study on genome editing in animals and humans the Scottish Episcopal Church. They co-organised the 2022 conference of the European Society for Agriculture and Food Ethics Democs in Edinburgh. They are also working together on creating and playing a Democs card game on Cattle Breeding for the EC Horizon 2020 international research project BovReg.

Back to Edinethics Home Page

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. He chaired a working group on genome editing in animals and humans for Scottish Episcopal Church .

Environment, Energy and Climate Change: 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. He has worked with the Scottish Episcopal Church's Church in Society Committee on the ethical issues surrounding investments in fossil fuel technology companies and in other controversial fields. He chaired a study to prepare a plan and toolkit for the Scottish Episcopal Church aiming to achieve Net Zero in Carbon by 2030.

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 is a member of the UK Animals in Science Committee which advises the Home Secretary and the animals inspectorate on matters of animal research.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 : Much of Dr Bruce's work continues to be done in a European context. He was an official observer to the Global Summit of National Bioethics Committees in 1998 and 2000, and the to Bioethics Committees of UNESCO and the Council of Europe. He has made invited presentations to the EC European Group on Ethics. He was an expert advisor to the European Patent Office in its scenario planning of future societal issues in technology. He was 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 was on various working groups of the World Council of Churches on bioethics and climate change, and was an advisor on bioethics to the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.