This month, the new European ETHICSCHOOL project has started, in which summerschools will be organized on Ethics of Emerging Technologies in the summer of 2008. Currently, the European Commission is soliciting ideas in an open consultation on a code of conduct for nanotechnology research in Europe. They intend to publish this code of conduct end of 2007. Subsequently, researchers, industrialists and other stakeholders will have to discuss it further and implement it in their work. The EU funded ETHICSCHOOL project presents an ideal opportunity for disseminating the EU code, by organizing two summerschools on ethics of nanotechnology and converging technologies, developing e-learning tools for use in higher education curricula and publishing draft codes of conduct developed during the summerschools.
The first summerschool will focus on ethics of nanotechnology at the University of Twente, Netherlands, in August 2008, and be chaired by professor Arie Rip (UT) and professor Jean-Pierre Wils (Radboud University Nijmegen, Centre for Ethics, Netherlands). The second summerschool will focus on ethics of converging technologies (nanotechnology; biotechnology; information and communication technologies; and cognitive sciences), and be chaired by Professor Alfred Nordmann of the Technical University Darmstadt, in August/September 2008.
The project should contribute to more harmonious development of the rapidly advancing progress in science, taking into account the diverse cultural and religious backgrounds across Europe, as well as the fundamental ethical principles applied in the European countries. The summerschools will bring together outstanding scientists, key policy makers and promising young researchers from all over Europe and from other parts of the world and from natural and social sciences and the humanities. These summerschools will be a platform for dialogue, and contribute to capacity building, networking and awareness creation and early warning of emerging ethical issues related to nanotechnology and converging technologies. By bringing together leading experts from the relevant natural and social sciences as well as humanities in intensive workshop sessions, the understanding of ethical issues in relation to new scientific and technological developments and their applications will be deepened. These workshops will facilitate including also understanding of the legal, social, economic, and cultural impact of nanotechnologies and converging technologies on the European Research Area in the global context.