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Issue 479, 18 March 2002

Science and ethics

The government's chief scientific adviser Professor David King visited the University this month, meeting researchers from across the University, and finishing with a speech at the Woodhouse group dinner on Science, ethics and the government's role.

Professor King said that the government needed to strike the right balance between the political demands of science, industry and civil society and was attempting to do this by broadening the areas of expertise from which advice was sought and ensuring there was an effective engagement with civil society.

Citing new regulatory bodies set in place by the UK and other governments, he also called for researchers to work within the existing framework of ethics committees and take greater responsibility themselves for the moral, social and ethical implications of their work.

The CSA advises the prime minister and the cabinet on matters relating to science, engineering and technology. Professor King was appointed to the post in October 2000, and holds a chemistry chair at the University of Cambridge.

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