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website: www.sgr.org.uk

socially minded science
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intro: many of the problems facing society today are a result of the irresponsible use of science and technology: arsenals of mass destruction are still deployed, often at a poor standard of care, and new weapons tend to keep one step ahead of arms control; excessive emissions of greenhouse gases are adversely affecting the climate, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people; modern agricultural methods are leading to widespread loss of topsoil and water shortages; serious nuclear accidents occur and nuclear weapons continue to spread; stocks of some species of fish are severely depleted due to over-fishing. Other new science is connected with the emergence of new and as yet unclear threats (see genetic experiments, nuclear power and climate engineering).

what: Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) is an independent UK-based organisation of scientists and engineers promoting ethical science and technology, based on the principles of openness, accountability, peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Their work involves research, education, lobbying and providing a support network for ethically-concerned scientists.

who:membership is composed of around 600 scientist members, and the organisation is supported by some of the UK's top scientists. SGR is affiliated with the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES). Unlike many scientific bodies, SGR’s policy refuses funding from the military or large corporations involved in controversial science and technology - which means they depend for most of their finance on its members and supporters.

mission: SGR aims to… - work for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction; - promote a transfer of human and financial resources away from military applications and towards civil ones; - promote a transfer of human and financial resources away from non-renewable energy and material sources and towards renewable ones; - argue for adequate analyses of the benefits, risks and uncertainties of technological innovations (especially those, such as biotechnology, with great potential for good or ill) before commitment to their use or non-use; - promote the conditions in which scientists and technologists may use their skills (…). Such conditions include the existence of pluralist, accountable sources of funding, and the ability of scientists and engineers to publish their work, freely and without risk of reprisals.

science for the future: if social justice, care for the other species of this planet, and a concern for future generations have their rightful place as fundamental values, then science and technology can be much more part of the solutions than part of the problems. Here are just a few programmes that deserve much more science and technology funding: - the clean, sustainable production of energy, and its efficient use; - the development and application of biological and medical knowledge to the benefit of all; - the development of clean, efficient transport systems; - the use of information technology to increase energy efficiency, reduce the need for transportation, eliminate unnecessary labour, and promote access for all to humanity's pool of knowledge.

that’s for sure: “There is a great need for socially minded scientists and technologists” they say. And all of us agree - we think - but let’s say that there is also a great need from citizens to better understand (more and more complex) scientific issues… It’s a circle: people’s improved awareness will help the most committed scientists make gov & biz switch to a more responsible use of science, but who – if not the most committed scientists – will be on the forefront of the battle to make broader access to scientific information a reality?

new careers: SGR has just brought out a new briefing entitled “Your career and sustainable development”. It describes an innovative approach that will help scientists and engineers incorporate environmental and social considerations into their work. The briefing can be downloaded from SGR's web-site at: www.sgr.org.uk/ethics.htmlThis is the fourth 8-page briefing in the highly popular series “Thinking About an Ethical Career in Science and Technology”. Demand for these publications has proved to be very high with a total of over 5,000 copies distributed to date.


PO Box 473
Folkestone, CT20 1GS, UK
ph 07771 883696
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