Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Signalling Research

Promoting a culture of dialogue and responsibility

Many of tomorrow’s solutions for global challenges are founded in the knowledge being produced by scientists today. For example, laboratory studies on the regulation of communication processes in cells of the human immune system have resulted in new medicines to fight cancer. New knowledge about how plants cope with stress can help make crops stronger and better able to cope with the effects of climate change.Although research and innovation bring clear benefits to society, members of society often have questions, concerns or objections to certain aspects of research – not only surrounding the products/outcomes of research, but also the processes. The advance in scientific opportunities and innovation need to be accompanied by dialogue surrounding science and technologies.

Through our science communication strategy, CIBSS engages with the public on these topics. Furthermore, the ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSAs) of biological signalling research and of the control-of-function technologies developed in CIBSS are assessed in independent projects within our research programme. This means that dialogue between scientists and experts in ethics and law guides the development of new technologies right from the beginning, rather than after the fact.

As part of the CIBSS-ELSA project “Responsible Science and Technology - The Legal and Ethical Framework of Control-of-Function Research and Technology”, Constantin Born from the research group of Prof. Dr. Silja Vöneky published the information paper „New rules for gene-edited plants in Europe - The EU Commission's proposal for a regulation on new genomic methods in plant breeding” (in German).