Social and political context
Scientific advances such as nanotechnology, DNA databases, and stem cells are generating new controversies. This is at a time when public trust in science and medicine is supposedly decreasing due to ‘scares’ such as BSE, foot and mouth, GM crops, Alder Hey, and MMR. So, the government has stressed the importance of dialogue or consultation with the public:
“That direct dialogue with the public should move from being an optional add-on to science-based policy-making and to the activities of research organisations and learned institutions, and should become a normal and integral part of the process.” (House of Lords Report (2000) Science and Society paragraph 5.48)
What is public dialogue or engagement?
1. be about education and information that includes the uncertainty of the science.
1. Whose views do you listen to? Is it the majority or the minority?
We did some research before the launch of Generation Scotland (February 2006).
Currently, comments were made about the GS Participant Information Leaflet and consent form, which were then re-worked and will shortly be reviewed by the Campaign for Plain English. Queries and concerns that were raised were used as the basis for the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page of this website. In February, 2006, we organised a one-day workshop in Dundee when GS nurses, social/scientists, IT managers, GPs, etc met and discussed some of the early findings. We think that people have important experiences and views that can help inform how GS is communicated, organised and governed. GS has made a promise to listen, discuss and respond to the findings; not just around ideas about study materials, recruitment or participation but also on more difficult social, legal and ethical issues.
Click here to view the new public consulation publication by Dr Gill Haddow and Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley.