Event: Zürich Winter School on the ethics of human enhancement

1 December 2014

4 – 6 March 2015, Institute for Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Zürich, Switzerland

Technologies that promise to significantly enhance human capacities have become a central topic of debate in biomedical ethics over the past few decades. Such «enhancement technologies» are variously intended to improve cognition, motivation, mood, personality, health and longevity, physical appearance and athletic performance in healthy people. One path towards these types of enhancement is self transformation: it includes methods like psychoactive drugs, different forms of brain stimulation, cosmetic surgery, anabolic steroids, as well as brain-computer interfaces and prosthetic limbs that could potentially outperform natural ones. A second path involves the selection of future human beings (at the embryonic level) on the basis of their genetic make-up.

This Winter School will bring together an international group of experts on the cutting edge of that debate, to discuss questions like: what can we already do to enhance human capacities, and what can we expect to achieve in the future? Does the pursuit of human enhancement involve a search for «perfection», and if so, does this count against it? Do enhancement technologies threaten human dignity and human identity? Will they undermine social justice, or can they perhaps help promote it? Should we reject enhancement interventions that would alter human nature as we know it? And finally, are the potential social benefits of enhancement (e.g. faster progress in medical science made possible by smarter researchers) worth the risks?

SPEAKERS: Nicholas Agar, Pieter Bonte,Line Evéquoz, Johann Roduit, Tobias Eichinger, Vincent Menuz, Alexandre Erler. Selected participants of the University of Zurich project: superhumains.ch will also present parts of their project and some of their findings.

The conference is open to all students, researchers and practitioners from all relevant fields, interested in the ethics of human enhancement. There is no registration fee. 3 ECTS will be given for full participation. Please register by e-mailing johann.roduit@ethik.uzh.ch before 1st February 2015 with your name, title and affiliation. Places are limited.

Conference: The ethics of human enhancement are a concern in clinical practice – Myth or Reality?

27 January 2012

15th March 2012, KCL Medical School, London Bridge
No registration fee/please register to allow us to plan numbers at kidskcl [at] gmail.com

This Intermural Student Bioethics Network meeting (KCL) is in association with with Royal Society of Medicine Open Section

The meeting will take place in the Gordon Museum at on the Guy’s Hospital Campus of Kings College London

The Gordon Museum entrance is on the mezzanine floor of The Hodgkin Building of the Guy’s Campus, nearest tube/train is London Bridge (St Thomas’ Street Exit)

The timetable is as follows

1515 – Registration and Coffee in the Asklepios Room, Ground floor, Gordon Museum

1530 – Welcome by Chair – Dr Andrew Papanikitas, President Elect, RSM Open Section

1535-1600 Human enhancement – what is it? Why should we think about it? Dr Tom Douglas, Uehiro Centre, Oxford University

1600 -1625 Cosmetic enhancement – in the eye of the beholder? Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Group Medical Director, BUPA and Board Member, Independent Healthcare Advisory Service

1625- 1650 Human enhancement and childhood potential – Professor Sam Lingam, Consultant neurodevelomental paediatrician

Human enhancement -What’s the story? – Dr Pete Moore, Science Journalist and author

1715-1800 A panel discussion – following which all delegates are invited to continue the conversation over a glass of wine and nibbles in the the Asklepios Room.

The meeting is supported by a Kings College London Roberts Open Grant

Workshop: Enhancement, identity & the construction of categories in the Olympics

11 October 2011

Thursday 10th November, 4:30-7:30pm
Great Hall, Strand Campus, King’s College London
Centre for Humanities and Health (CHH) & King’s Interdisciplinary Discussion Society (KIDS)

“Oscar Pistorius has recently run inside the Olympic qualifying time for the men’s 400m. A debate has ensued over his eligibility to compete: do his prostheses give him an unfair advantage and should he be banned from competing against able-bodied athletes?

Oscar’s case raises philosophical, ethical and legal questions. What does it mean to be “able” or “disabled” in sport? What counts as legitimate enhancement? How do we define ‘human’ achievement? How are such categories constructed and undermined in sport? This workshop will seek to address these questions with a panel of experts from primary healthcare, ethics and sports medicine.”

Dr. Vanessa Heggie (University of Cambridge)
Prof. Trisha Greenhalgh (QMUL)
Prof. Michael McNamee (Swansea University)
Followed by a drinks reception

All welcome, registration free.
Please RSVP to kidskcl [at] gmail.com by Monday 24th October

Job: Research Assistant in the Ethics of Human Enhancement (0.8 FTE), Bristol

11 April 2011

University of Bristol, School of Social and Community Medicine

Fixed Term Contract: 17 months, Salary: £29,972 (pro rata)

Closing date for applications: 9:00am 18 Apr 2011
Anticipated interview date: 03 May 2011
Anticipated start date: 01 Jun 2011

You will assist the Principal Investigator in the research of the European Project: “EPOCH – Ethics in Public Policy-making – the Case for Human Enhancement.”

The overarching aim of EPOCH is to provide better insight into the role of ethics, and of ethical expertise in particular, in European Union policies on science and technology. It will also provide guidance regarding the development of European public policies on the topic of ‘human enhancement’ and, more broadly, on the governance of contentious normative issues in science and technology.

Further information is available here.

Conference: Making Perfect Life. Bio-engineering in the 21st century

22 October 2010

Wednesday 10 November 2010, 1-6 pm

European Parliament, Brussels, room PHS 1A002

Living bacteria with artificial DNA, supercomputers designed to function like a real human brain or robots showing human-like emotions. Biology is increasingly engineered in much the same way as technology, while technology is becoming more and more life-like. These two engineering trends intensify current debates about the desirability and acceptability of genetic engineering and human enhancement. They also raise novel issues, like who’s in control of machines with a life of their own?

The social and political consequences of these two bio-engineering trends are discussed at the conference Making Perfect Life on November 10th 2010 in the European Parliament in Brussels. Speakers at this international and interdisciplinary conference include, stem cell scientist Stephen Minger, neurosurgeon Veerle Visser-VandeWalle, AI expert Brigitte Krenn, philosophers Mark Bedau, Roger Strand and Jutta Weber, sociologist Andrew Webster and many others.

Visit here for the final programme and registration. Registration must be before November 2nd. The entry is free of charge.

The conference is organised by the Dutch Rathenau Institute in cooperation with the STOA bureau at the European Parliament, two organisations devoted to political and public debate on science and society.

Call for abstracts: Conference on cognitive enhancement

21 October 2010

21 February – 1 March 2011
University of Mainz, Germany

The conference will provide a forum for young scholars, post-docs and Ph.D. students from Europe and Canada interested in medical, societal and ethical issues of cognitive enhancement. This event is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
During the conference, 15 participants from different disciplines will have the opportunity to present their work and to discuss issues related to cognitive enhancement with renowned international experts.
The scientific programme will consist of oral presentations by the 15 participating young scholars, keynote lectures and a panel discussion. In addition, a hands-on day will be held at the Psychiatric Clinic, University Medical Center, Mainz.

Who should apply? Young scholars, post-docs and Ph.D. students from disciplines such as neurosciences, medicine, psychology, theory of medicine, philosophy, biomedical ethics, neuroethics, law, theology, sports science and the social sciences, interested in an interdisciplinary debate on cognitive enhancement.

Accommodation and travel expenses will be provided. Participants will receive an additional expense allowance of 300 € for preparing and submitting their manuscript for inclusion in the conference proceedings. In order to allow for a timely publication, it will be necessary that the participants submit their manuscripts within four weeks after the conference.

Please send your application with an abstract of your presentation (max. 500 words), a short curriculum vitae and a list of publications to PD Dr. Elisabeth Hildt:

Department of Philosophy, University of Mainz
Jakob Welder-Weg 18, 55099 Mainz, Germany


Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30 November 2010
Outcome of review: 15 December 2010

Conference: Reason, Theology and the Genome

19 September 2010

A conference on the ethics of human enhancement
Christ Church College, University of Oxford
9 October 2010

What is the place of theology in the growing debate over genetic engineering and human enhancement? Are theological ideas of interest only to believers? Or, as Michael Sandel and Jürgen Habermas have both suggested, might they be important for society generally, for secular and religious alike? “Reason, Theology and the Genome” brings together a distinguished international panel of speakers, representing many different disciplines and points of view, to consider the relevance of theology to one of the most important questions of our time


Panel 1: The Science of Enhancement (9.30-11.00 am)
Participants: Paul Griffiths, Guy Brown

Panel 2: The Ethics of Enhancement (11.30 am -1 pm)
Participants: Michael Hauskeller, Guy Kahane

Panel 3: Autonomy and Creatureliness (2 pm – 3.30 pm)
Participants: Anja Karnein/Mattias Iser, Robert Song

Panel 4: Round-table: Theology in the Public Arena (4 pm – 5.30 pm)
Participants: Nigel Biggar, John Harris, David Jones, Stephen Clark

“Reason, Theology and the Genome” is hosted by the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life, Oxford University, with the support of Egenis, Exeter University.

Registration and further details here.

Workshop: Revisiting cognitive enhancement

25 August 2010

September 17th, 2010, 11.00 – 17.00

Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge

This interactive workshop will aim to clarify the idea of cognitive enhancement and its significance with reference to three central notions: achievement, coercion, and preference. The questions addressed will include: Is the notion of cognitive enhancement consistent with key intuitions about knowledge as a distinct kind of achievement? Could the availability of cognitive enhancements amount to a coercive offer? What is the moral significance of individual preferences for cognitive enhancement?

Further details are available here.

There is no attendance fee, however, places are limited and prior registration essential. For RSVP and further queries please e-mail the organiser, Dr Lubomira Radoilska (lr271@cam.ac.uk)

PhD Studentship: A sociological study of health-related enhancement technologies

16 July 2010

University of Edinburgh
Centre for Research on Families and Relationships
Centre for Population Health Sciences

Applications are invited for this full-time PhD studentship commencing 1st October or as soon as possible thereafter. This is offered as part of the Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Strategic Award programme ‘The Human Body, its Scope, Limits and Future’ (a collaboration between the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh). The student will be based in the University of Edinburgh Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, and associated with the Centre for Population Health Sciences, as well as having close links with Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester. This Wellcome Trust Strategic Award is a five-year
programme led by Professor John Harris and colleagues at iSEI and by Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley at CRFR. This multidisciplinary programme follows five strands of innovative research: 1. Human biomaterials; 2. Genethics; 3. Reproduction; 4. Enhancement; 5. Methods in Bioethics Students are invited to think about possible projects on the sociology of healthrelated enhancement, and include their ideas for the empirical research in their cover letter.
The project will be supervised by Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley (CRFR and CPHS), Dr Martyn Pickersgill (CPHS) and Dr Gill Haddow (Innogen). CRFR has a thriving postgraduate research community and close links with CPHS and the Division of Community Health Sciences (www.chs.med.ed.ac.uk), and the School of Social and Political Science (www.sps.ed.ac.uk).

Applicants must have achieved a 2:1 or higher in their first degree in sociology or a related social science discipline, and preferably have a relevant MA or MSc. The award provides a maintenance grant (£18,685) and full fees.

To apply please submit the following:
· A two-page cover letter outlining your interest in and suitability for this
project (including brief project proposal)
· An up-to-date CV
· Two academic referees
· Degree certificate/transcript (notarised copies are acceptable).

Please send your application to Vivien M Smith, CRFR Business Manager, 23 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9LN (Vivien.Smith@ed.ac.uk) by the closing date of Friday 6th August 2010. Interviews for shortlisted applicants will be held towards the end of August. Informal inquiries can be made to Sarah Cunningham-Burley (sarah.c.burley@ed.ac.uk) before 30th July 2010, or Martyn Pickersgill (martyn.pickersgill@ed.ac.uk) before 4th August.

Lecture Series: Enhancement and Genetic Modification

28 February 2010

The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method of the LSE is delighted to invite you to the Auguste Comte Memorial Lectures 2010, which will be delivered by Professor Allen Buchanan (Duke University).

March 9, 6:30-8 pm Hong Kong Lecture Theatre, Clement House:

Biomedical Enhancement and the Ethics of Development

It is becoming possible to extend human capacities and perhaps even create new ones through the application of biomedical technologies. Putting biomedical enhancements in a historical context can help us avoid common misunderstandings of ethical issues.

To be followed by a reception at 8 pm in the Atrium (Main Building): open to all attendees.

March 10, 6:30-8pm Hong Kong Lecture Theatre, Clement House:

The Risks of Genetically Modifying Human Embryos or Gametes

Many consider genetic modification to be the riskiest mode of biomedical enhancement. The problem of unintended bad consequences is serious, but it is often misrepresented in terms of interference with the ‘wisdom of nature’ or the handiwork of the ‘master engineer’ of evolution.

The lectures are open to the public; no tickets are required.

Maps and directions here.
For further information: a.e.voorhoeve@lse.ac.uk