Thursday 25th October 2018, 10:00-17:00
Friday 26th October 2018, 9.30-17:00 with drinks and canapés from 17:00 till 19:00
Venue: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE
Advances in synthetic genetic technologies and artificial intelligence research promise the emergence of new forms of life, some of which may be conscious and will thus pose entirely new challenges for the law. Their advent may require a re-evaluation of Homo sapiens’ legal and social primacy; and will pose disruptive global challenges for society and the law as regards the moral status of these beings, their protections, their freedoms, their obligations, and our own towards them. It seems likely that these technologies will be the product of public companies and in particular multinational corporations, and we may find ourselves facing the cyberpunk future represented by Blade Runner’s Tyrell Corporation. Dr Lawrence and Dr Morley have received funding from the Wellcome Trust to conduct a project of research into this area, with a specific focus on how we might control companies’ development of these beings via regulation. A new network of expertise has been created through a number of events prior to this conference, considering these future technological developments and beginning to suggest practical legal definitions for the status of both conscious and unconscious novel beings. A future goal for this group is to assist in developing proposals for appropriate regulation for the responsible development, operation, and disposal of the technologies. A roundtable (January 2018) comprising renowned experts in ethics and law- including Professors John Harris and Chris Reed, and Drs Sarah Chan and Ruth Stirton- formed the nucleus of this network and set the agenda for our research. The first symposium (held in April 2018) considered the interplay between consciousness, responsibility, and liability, and attempted to provide a basis for developing workable legal definitions of consciousness that may be applicable in many fields of law – which will be essential for assessing levels of accountability required by companies, or the new beings themselves and any rights that might be bestowed upon them. The second symposium (held in June 2018) built upon the first and specifically address the responsibility of companies in the development, operation, and disposal of these technologies. Morally significant questions are currently not answered by the law; for example, as the law stands Directors are not required to consider whether these beings have a right to life, to liberty, or to self-ownership; nor to the impacts its existence and operations may have on society. We invite you to join us at the two-day final conference of this project, which will continue the work of these symposia and bring together a variety of researchers of disparate fields (including medical law and jurisprudence, policymakers, legal practitioners, and computer scientists) alongside new perspectives from neuroscience, neurology, consciousness studies and bioengineering in order to set the stage for future investigations of these legal conflicts and their wider implications.
Convenors: Dr Sarah Morley, Dr David Lawrence
If you’d like to attend, please register for free ASAP by contacting: sarah.morley [at] ncl.ac.uk with any dietary requirements.
Agenda – Thursday 25th October
Arrival – 10.00am
Registration and coffee
Introduction- 11:00- 11:30
Dr Sarah Morley, Dr David Lawrence (Newcastle University)
Session 1- NOVEL BEINGS 11:30-12:30, CHAIR: Dr Sarah Morley
11:30- Dr David Lawrence (Newcastle University)
12:00- Professor John Harris (Professor Emeritus, Manchester University, Visiting Professor, King’s College London)
Session 2- LEGAL CHALLENGES 13:30-15:00, CHAIR: Professor Mathias Siems
13:30- Dr Aisling McMahon (Maynooth University, IRE)
14:00- Mr Chris Riley (Durham University) and Dr Oludara Akanmidu (De Montfort University)
14:30- Professor Dirk Zetzsche (University of Luxembourg, LU)
Coffee Break- 15:00-15:30
Session 3- OTHER MINDS 15:30-16:30, CHAIR: Professor Lilian Edwards
15:30- Dr Joshua Jowitt (Newcastle University)
16:00- Dr Gardar Arnason (University of Tübingen, GER)
16:30- Dr Henry Shevlin (University of Cambridge)
Contract type: Permanent full time
Closing date: 14/10/2018
The Scientific Policy Manager is the main (internal) source of scientific Policy advice and briefing. They work with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that the HFEA’s scientific policies focus on improving quality of treatment and research, communicating these effectively, via briefings, articles, and speech-writing.
The post-holder manages the Scientific Advances Advisory Committee (SCAAC) and leads the Policy team’s scientific and clinical horizon scanning policy function, programming an annual international horizon-scanning panel meeting. They represent the HFEA at conferences and external working groups, presenting as required. The post also supports the Policy team, replying to public enquiries and drafting answers to relevant Parliamentary Questions. The Scientific Policy Manager is supported in their role by their line report, the Scientific Policy Officer.
This is an exciting opportunity for someone with a degree or equivalent in a scientific or clinical subject, and knowledge or academic experience in a biological or clinical science. You’ll have experience or involvement in policy work (ideally in a regulatory context), initiating and managing projects and good analytical skills. You’ll be able to understand complicated legal, ethical and scientific issues around assisted reproductive technologies and engage confidently with professional groups. Ideally, you’ll have experience of producing evidence-based guidance and working closely with senior staff and committees.
This is a unique opportunity to play a key role in the Policy team. You will have the chance to make a real and tangible difference to our work and the lives of patients. For more information about the work we do, please visit the HFEA website.
Please register here.
BBC World Service, available via the iPlayer
Anyone with enough money, be they female, male, gay, straight, single or in a relationship now has the opportunity to try for a baby of their own. By the end of the century, an estimated 157 million people alive or 1.4 % of the world’s population will owe their lives to assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, donor eggs and sperm and surrogacy.
So how are people around the world using these innovations? And how well is society doing in getting to grips with the ethical questions that go hand in hand with the creation of life of in these ways.
The New World Of Reproduction
In part one, Krupa Padhy examines where we have got to after 40 years of IVF. In England, she visits a family made up of white British parents and their three boys, plus a ‘snow baby’: created during an IVF cycle for her Indian-American genetic parents, but adopted as an embryo by her birth family. She hears from ethicists and law makers from around the world about how countries have struggled to adapt to new technological realities, and discovers stories that challenge ideas of what IVF is for, like that of an Indian woman who used her dead son’s sperm to create grandchildren.
How humans make babies could be about to change, thanks to advances in IVF and reproductive technology. Krupa Padhy meets the new kinds of families that could become the norm, and explores how reproductive technology may soon alter the way all of us make babies.
Date: Friday 28 September 2018, 09:00 – 18:00
Location: Faculty of Law, University Of Cambridge, 10 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
This conference will explore what human rights law has to say on the issue of abortion in 2018.
Applications close 9 November 2018.
Applications to NICE’s (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) prestigious Fellows and Scholars Programme are open.
Thursday 4 October 2018, 5.30 – 6.45pm.
Oxford Martin School, Lecture Theatre, University of Oxford.
Book: Ethics, Conflict and Medical Treatment for Children (Elsevier, 2018)
Abstract: What should happen when doctors and parents disagree about what would be best for a child? When should courts become involved? Should life support be stopped against parents’ wishes? The case of Charlie Gard reached global attention in 2017. It led to widespread debate about the ethics of disagreements between doctors and parents, about the place of the law in such disputes, and about the variation in approach between different parts of the world.
Professors Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu will present the key themes of their new book which critically examines the core ethical questions at the heart of disputes about medical treatment for children. They will review prominent cases of disagreement from the UK and internationally and analyse some of the distinctive and challenging features around treatment disputes in the 21st century, and outline a radical new framework for future cases of disagreement around the care of gravely ill people.
There will be an opportunity for group discussion of the general themes.
Speakers: Professor Dominic Wilkinson is Director of Medical Ethics and Professor of Medical Ethics at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. He is a consultant in newborn intensive care at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. He also holds a health practitioner research fellowship with the Wellcome Trust and is a senior research fellow at Jesus College Oxford.
Professor Julian Savulescu has held the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford since 2002. He has degrees in medicine, neuroscience and bioethics. He directs the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy, and leads a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award on Responsibility and Health Care. He directs the Oxford Martin Programme for Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He co-directs the interdisciplinary Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities in collaboration with Public Health, Psychiatry and History.
Oxford Talks: here.