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Research in action

The door to 10 Downing Street

The impact of work by iSEI researchers extends beyond academia to major national and international policy initiatives that inform and drive change in the public realm, including through providing expert advice to governments. Examples of projects and contributions that have broader implications for society, in the longer term, include:

Human bodies: animal bodies

As a member of the Working Party, John Harris contributed to the report by the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) on ‘Animals containing human materials’, which was published in July 2011.  Building on this work, and as an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Wellcome Trust, iSEI in association with the AMS held a public panel entitled ‘Human bodies: animal bodies’, to consider the opportunities and implications of biomedical research involving the combination of human and animal cells and DNA.


Image of Front Cover of Brain Waves 1 Report

The first report from the Royal Society’s Brain Waves project, Brain Waves 1, is a series of essays authored by leading experts in neuroscience, bioethics, and science and technology policy. The essays review the state of development of neuroscience and neurotechnology and discuss the translation of this knowledge into useful applications. The authors discuss their own views on how developments might impact on society, examining some of the opportunities and risks, as well as the ethical questions and governance issues. John Harris, a member of the Brain Waves Steering Group and iSEI colleague Sarah Chan have contributed a chapter on Neuroethics to Brain Waves 1.

For more details, visit the Royal Society website, or read: Report [PDF 2M]

Neuroscience and the Law

This final report of the Royal Society’s Brain Waves project, Brain Waves 4, was published December 2011. John Harris was a member of the Working Party that explored how research into the way brain function affects behaviour may be bought to bear on the regulation of behaviour by the law, including the relevance and limitations of this application of neuroscience.

Read report: Brain Waves 4: Neuroscience and the law

Other reports in the series are:

Stem cell science

As steering committee/group members of The Hinxton Group: An International Consortium on Stem Cells, Ethics & Law, John Harris and Sarah Chan contributed to the development of a leading Statement on Policies and Practices Governing Data and Materials Sharing and Intellectual Property in Stem Cell Science, which was published in January 2011.

Who owns science?

Who Owns Science? The Manchester Manifesto, launched in late November 2009, is a response to the threat posed by the current system of Intellectual Property. With more than 50 signatories to the original report, it has since attracted much attention and many Responses.