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Chinese experts debate science governance at Cardiff

28 Gorffennaf 2011

china symposium - webProfessor Qiu Ren-Zong, Professor Ruth Chadwick, and Professor Zhai Xiaomei

Two leading Chinese authorities have discussed the future international governance of science at an influential Cardiff University symposium.

The symposium,organised by the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), looked at current issues in the governance and regulation of such scientific fields as genetics, biotechnology and low carbon technology.

Science governance is becoming an increasingly pressing issue at both national and international levels. Technology is becoming ever more sophisticated and creating new ethical and legal issues, while amateur access to biotechnology capability is also a growing possibility.

Held at the Wales Millennium Centre, the symposium speakers included Professor Qiu Ren-Zong and Professor Zhai Xiaomei of Beijing, both former members of the international ethics committee of the Human Genome Organisation.

Professor Qiu spoke on some of the concepts surrounding scientific governance, while Professor Zhai spoke on current issues facing the control of stem cell therapies in China. The symposium also heard from Professor Ruth Chadwick, Cesagen Director and the current chair of the Human Genome Organisation’s international ethics committee. Professor Chadwick spoke on future challenges in scientific governance and the role of international committees, such as the Human Genome Organisation, in meeting them.

Cesagen, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), aims to address social, ethical and policy implications of scientific developments, particularly in the field of genetics and genomics. Professor Chadwick said: "We are privileged to have two such international experts as Professor Zhai and Professor Qiu at Cardiff.

"Both have been involved in some highly influential discussions on the ethics of genomic science. This symposium has explored some of the present and future issues facing us as technology advances and we hope it will have a bearing on the debate around scientific governance in both China and the UK."

Following the Symposium, Professor Qiu Ren-Zong said: "We have learned much from visiting the UK and Cesagen. Confucianism suggests that Chinese approaches cannot be identical with other approaches, but in harmony, and that has been a theme of this symposium."