Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics meets at Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona and visits the “la Caixa” foundation’s science museum

The ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics (PWGSE) met in Barcelona on 17 October 2014. On the day prior to the meeting, members of the PWGSE listened to a presentation by la Fundación Bancaria “la Caixa”‘s scientific director about the foundation´s activities in the field of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), followed by a visit to the CosmoCaixa museum and a festive dinner with the President of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (RACAB). The meeting took place on the premises of RACAB in the city centre of Barcelona.

RRI, or Responsible Research and Innovation, is becoming an increasingly relevant and pressing topic for the scientific community in Europe. This was one of the key messages that Enric Banda Tarradellas, the scientific director of the “la Caixa” foundation, relayed to members of the ALLEA PWGSE during his presentation of the “RRI tools” project (funded in the EU Framework Programme 7) in the CosmoCaixa museum in Barcelona. He described RRI as “a dynamic, iterative process by which all stakeholders involved in the research and innovation practice (researchers, policy makers, industry, civil society organisations, educators) become mutually responsive to each other and share the responsibility regarding the RRI outcomes and processes”.

RACAB President Pascual and Working Group Chair Hermerén

RACAB President Pascual and Working Group Chair Hermerén

The presentation was followed by a guided tour of the CosmoCaixa, one of the major science museums in Spain, which covers a broad range of scientific findings and methods in its interactive exhibits. The evening closed with a festive dinner on the invitation of la Caixa and in the presence of RACAB President Ramon Pascual.

The ALLEA Working Group itself is currently involved in an application for funding within the Horizon 2020 programme for a thematically related project on the implementation of RRI in science curricula. The application is projected to be evaluated by spring 2015. Consequently, RRI was among the issues that the PWGSE addressed in its meeting on the premises of RACAB on the following day. Further topics of discussion included the follow-up to the recently published statement “Ethics Education in Science”, deliberations on the problem of private sponsoring of science, and ethical aspects of Open Access in the contexts of scientific publications and research data sets. The latter will be one of the main topics in a joint meeting of the PWGSE with ALLEA’s Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights in Munich on 24 November 2014.  

ALLEA PWGSE meeting at RACAB

ALLEA PWGSE meeting at RACAB

The Programme of the PWGSE visit to Barcelona also included a lunch with the Presidency of the Institute for Catalan Studies (IES) which – alongside RACAB – was elected to membership in ALLEA at the General Assembly 2014 in Oslo in April. IEC President Joandomènec Ros underlined the Institute´s interest in the ALLEA PWGSE’s field of work and presented the facilities of the Institute to its members, highlighting the Institute-run library for scientific publications in Catalan language.

In closing the meeting, the PWGSE looked forward to the joint discussions with ALLEA’s experts on Intellectual Property Rights in Munich and to its next session in March 2015.

ALLEA PWGSE members

ALLEA PWGSE members

Read more about the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics.

Read more about the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona.

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