Event: WITH GREAT GENOMIC DATA COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY

25 June 2018

6.30pm8.30pm on 26 June 2018

This event will explore questions raised by Big Data, the 100,000 Genomes Project and the new national NHS Genomic Medicine Service. The event is produced by Progress Educational Trust in partnership with Genomics England, as part of the Genomics Conversation.

The discussion will be chaired by TIMANDRA HARKNESS (author of the book Big Data: Does Size Matter?), with speakers including PROFESSOR ANN DALTON (Sheffield Children’s Hospital), PROFESSOR ANTHONY BROOKES (University of Leicester), PROFESSOR TIM HUBBARD (Genomics England) and DR NATALIE BANNER (Understanding Patient Data).

This event is taking place at University College London‘s Institute of Child Health. Email sstarr [at] progress.org.uk to book your FREE place(s).

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Job: Research Fellowship (Socio-Legal) in the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society, The University of Edinburgh

18 June 2018

The Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society is seeking an experienced researcher in the field of socio-legal studies to contribute to scholarly and engagement activities within this cross-College, cross-School initiative. The Centre, supported by the Wellcome Trust, seeks to effect lasting change in how we understand and influence the dynamic relationship between biomedicine, individuals and society.

Working closely with the Centre’s Executive Team, the successful candidate will develop and undertake an empirical socio-legal research project concerned with the legal consciousness of stakeholders in a health research context, such as in the realm of reproductive medicine, data sharing or clinical trials. You will also contribute to cross-cutting projects involving other members of the Centre.

The work demands close attention to detail, the ability to prioritise, identify and achieve deadlines and use good judgement and initiative. A positive collaborative attitude is also essential.

The successful candidate will have demonstrated success in research, supported by a track record of strong relevant publications. In addition, applicants are invited to explore how their research interests complement the existing strengths of the Executive Team and their respective Schools.

The post is available from 1st September 2018, full-time and fixed-term for 24 months.

Please include your CV and a supporting statement with details of how you meet the knowledge, skills and experience required for this post.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Professor Graeme Laurie (Graeme.Laurie [at] ed.ac.uk).


Conference: The Abortion Act: A Promise Fulfilled?

13 July 2017

24 October 2017 – 25 October 2017
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 27 Sussex Pl, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RG

Tickets and information

The passing of the 1967 Abortion Act was a landmark moment for our reproductive rights, achieved at the vanguard of a wave of liberalising change across the western world, and directly inspiring reform in a number of other countries.

But fifty years later, how well does the Act serve women today?

In the week of the Act’s fiftieth anniversary, this two-day conference will examine its impact, its shortcomings, and the extent to which its liberal proponents’ hopes have been realised.  Contributors including leading health care professionals, academics, policymakers, politicians, campaigners and service providers will address a range of important socio-legal, historical, political and clinical practice-based questions.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Universities of Bristol, Kent, and Leeds, and bpas, with generous funding from Wellcome.  It will be hosted by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


Debate: FERTILITY TREATMENT ADD-ONS: DO THEY ADD UP?

10 March 2017

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 27 Sussex Place, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RG

29 March 2017 6pm (wine reception), 6.30pm-8.30pm (panel discussion)

This Progress Educational Trust event, which is sponsored by the British Fertility Society, will begin with a wine reception at 6pm followed by a panel discussion at 6.30pm. To reserve your free place, email sstarr [at] progress.org.uk

The panel discussion will be chaired by FIONA FOX (Chair of Trustees at the Progress Educational Trust and Chief Executive of the Science Media Centre) with speakers PROFESSOR ADAM BALEN (Chair of the British Fertility Society), SALLY CHESHIRE (Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority), DR SIMON FISHEL (Founder and President of CARE Fertility) and DR RAJ MATHUR (Lead for Reproductive Medicine at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester).

Fertility treatment ‘add-ons’ are procedures and treatments offered alongside IVF – sometimes at considerable expense to the patient – which may not be supported by robust evidence. The benefits, harms and appropriateness of add-ons are often open to question, and the role of add-ons in fertility treatment has become a matter of heated debate among professionals and a source of confusion for patients.

Recently, add-ons have been discussed and debated in a controversial episode of the BBC1 programme Panorama entitled Inside Britain’s Fertility Business, in two studies published by in the British Medical Journal, in a study published by the journal Human Reproduction, and in work undertaken by the UK’s fertility regulator – the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Our event will ask:

• What counts as an add-on?

• Who is best placed to judge the evidence for add-ons, and what is the ideal standard of evidence?

• How much evidence is it reasonable to expect, before a treatment is offered to patients?

• What is the role of the HFEA, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and professional bodies such as the British Fertility Society, in helping patients navigate add-ons?

• What is the duty of the medical professional, and what is the role of patient choice?

Much of the event’s running time will be devoted to letting YOU put questions and comments to the speakers.


Job: Research Associate in Ethics at Lancaster University

22 December 2016

The Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University invites applications for a full-time Research Associate position. This is a 15-month fixed term post running from 3rd April 2017.

You will support a programme of research called The Donation and Transfer of Human Reproductive Materials, led by Professor Rosamund Scott (King’s College London) and Professor Stephen Wilkinson (Lancaster University). The programme is funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in Ethics and Society.

This post will facilitate and advance the programme’s aims and outputs, and you will be expected to work flexibly in a number of different areas to achieve this. You will focus predominantly on ethical and philosophical issues, but may also be required to work with relevant legal and scientific materials. You will also spend a minority of your working time (maximum 25%) providing teaching and supervision, and undertaking other work to support teaching, learning, and student recruitment activities.

Interview Date: Thursday 09 March 2017


Conference: RETHINKING THE ETHICS OF EMBRYO RESEARCH: GENOME EDITING, 14 DAYS AND BEYOND

22 November 2016

Progress Educational Trust public conference

Wednesday 7 December 2016, 9.30am5pm

Speakers include PROFESSOR MAGDALENA ZERNICKA-GOETZ from the University of Cambridge (leader of recent research in which human embryos were cultured in vitro for 13 days, the longest time ever achieved), DR KATHY NIAKAN from the Francis Crick Institute (the first researcher licensed by the UK regulator to use genome editing in human embryo research), and LORD GEORGE CAREY from the House of Lords (former Archbishop of Canterbury).

There will also be Keynote Addresses by BARONESS MARY WARNOCK (who originally proposed the 14-day limit on human embryo research, and whose Warnock Report is arguably the world’s most influential analysis of the ethics of assisted reproduction and embryo research) and PROFESSOR SIR IAN WILMUT (creator of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal ever cloned from an adult cell).

Other confirmed speakers and chairs include:

DR SIMON FISHEL (Founder and President of CARE Fertility, and one of the first researchers to demonstrate that embryos are capable of responding to their environment)

PROFESSOR BRUCE WHITELAW (Deputy Director of the Roslin Institute, and pioneer in research involving transgenic and genome-edited animals)

SALLY CHESHIRE (Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority)

PROFESSOR ALISON MURDOCH (Former Director of the Newcastle Fertility Centre, and leader of the first research in which an early embryo was created from a human nuclear transfer procedure)

PROFESSOR DAVID JONES (Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre)

PROFESSOR SARAH FRANKLIN (Director of the University of Cambridge‘s Reproductive Sociology Research Group)

PROFESSOR STEPHEN WILKINSON (bioethicist and author of the book Choosing Tomorrow’s Children: The Ethics Of Selective Reproduction)

DR ROGER HIGHFIELD (Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group)

FIONA FOX (Chair of the Progress Educational Trust and Chief Executive of the Science Media Centre)

SARAH NORCROSS (Director of the Progress Educational Trust)

Conference sessions include:

• ‘THE WARNOCK REPORT AND THE 14 DAY RULE

• ‘THE 14 DAY RULE: CALLING TIME ON EMBRYO RESEARCH

• ‘GENOME EDITING: CRISPR AT THE CUTTING EDGE

• ‘WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE EMBRYO?


TV: A world without Down’s Syndrome

3 October 2016

BBC2, Wednesday 5 October 2016, 21.00

Documentary about Down’s syndrome and the ethics of pregnancy screening, fronted by Sally Phillips. This film explores the science and thinking around the proposed new screening test for Down’s syndrome and its possible availability on the NHS.

Driven by the experience of raising her son Olly, who has Down’s syndrome, Sally explores some of the ethical implications of our national screening policy.

By talking to experts in the Down’s syndrome community, the world’s top scientists and including people with Down’s syndrome in the debate, Sally investigates a thorny subject that begs questions relevant to us all: what sort of world do we want to live in and who do we want in it?

The programme has created some controversy in advance of its broadcast. The BBC online magazine contains an interview with the presenter, Sally Phillips. For an opposing view, see yesterday’s Observer.