The PACE ethics workshops

The social and ethical implications of protocell technology (ECLT Venice Italy, 26 February 2005)

The creation of protocells will raise a number of important social and ethical issues. These include potential benefits to individuals and to society, potential harms including health and environmental risks, and violations of cultural, religious, or moral prohibitions. The aim of this workshop was to spark a systematic investigation of these social and ethical issues.

  • Mark Bedau, Protolife Srl, Venice; Reed College Department of Philosophy, Portland
    • Social responsibility and protocell technology
  • Brigitte Hantsche, Soziologisches Forschungsinstitut, Institut für Medizinische Soziologie an der Universität Göttingen; Institut Frau and Gesellschaft
    • The ambivalence of artificial cell technology: a challenge of ethical dimension between the conceptual tradition of human rights and socio-cultural achievements
  • Per Sandin, Philosophy Unit, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
    • Precaution and artificial cell research
  • Brian Johnson, Biotechnology Advisory Unit, English Nature; BBSRC Science and Society Panel
    • The need for ethical codes as frameworks for research and development in the biosciences

Social and Ethical Issues in Protocell Research (LANL Los Alamos, USA, 21 July 2005)

The development of protocells promises to produce vast social and economic benefits while also creating unprecedented risks to society and the environment. This workshop attempted to articulate the key challenges that society must confront as it decides whether and how to develop protocell technology. One challenge concerns how to conduct meaningful risk assessment when the potential consequences of protocell technology are so uncertain. Another concerns how to exercise proper precaution with protocell technology without forgoing its important benefits.

  • George Khushf,(Center for Bioethics, University of South Carolina)
    • Why bionanotechnology forces us to rethink how we approach ethical issues integral to scientific research
  • David Magnus, (Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford Center for Bioethics)
    • The Big Gamble: what role should the public play in assessing risks?
  • Carl F. Cranor, (Department of Philosophy, University of California, Riverside)
    • What Can We Learn From the Risks and Benefits of Other Technologies for Assessing the Introduction of Artificial Cells?

Social and Ethical Issues in Protocell Research: Assessing Risk and Responsibilities in an Uncertain World (ECLT Venice, Italy, 2 October 2005)

The creation of protocells will raise a number of important social and ethical issues. These include potential benefits to individuals and to society, potential harms including health and environmental risks, and violations of cultural, religious, or moral prohibitions. This was the third in a series of workshops sponsored by the EU PACE project aimed at investigating these issues.

  • Christine Hauskeller, (Philosopher, Researcher at the ESPRC Centre for Genomics in Society, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom.)
    • Critical reflections on the biomedical creation of life.
  • Mickey Gjerris, (Assistant Professor, Danish Center for Bioethics and Risk Assessment, Copenhagen.)
    • This is not a hammer: On ethics and technology.
  • Bill Durodié, (Senior Lecturer in Risk and Security, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Cranfield University, United Kingdom. )
    • Ethics versus experimentation: Scientific advance in a culture of precaution.
  • Jean-Pierre Dupuy, (Professor of Moral Philosophy and Ethics, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, and Stanford University, California.)
    • Is making life from scratch "playing God"? Towards a non-theological ethics of life engineering.

Social and Ethical Issues Concerning Protocells: Questions and Answers (ECLT Venice, Italy, 16-17 March 2006)

In this workshop invited experts engaged in discourse with PACE scientists about their views on the answers to a list of key questions regarding the ethical and social issues of protocell research and development. The organizers distributed a preliminary list of questions at the workshop, which was augmented with contributions from the workshop audience.

  • Bill Durodié, (Senior Lecturer in Risk and Corporate Security at Cranfield University)
    • Recommendations about social and ethical issues concerning protocells
  • Brian Johnson, (BBSRC Bioscience in Society Strategic Panel)
    • Recommendations about social and ethical issues concerning protocells

Final PACE ethics workshop (ECLT Venice, Italy, 12 March 2008)

The goal of the final PACE ethics workshop was to discuss and reach some rough agreement on the central points to make in this deliverable. The terminal result of this workshop was the PACE-deliverableEthical guidelines concerning artificial cells.


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