UK science policy: Who decides?

March 04, 2009

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act becomes law in April 2009¹. It promises groundbreaking legislation on assisted reproduction and embryo research², but was its development really a landmark in national scientific decision-making?

With contributions from leading figures in the worlds of science, policy, ethics and the media, the ESRC Genomics Forum³, based at the University of Edinburgh, is holding a conference examining how this new legal framework was determined, and who really makes the decisions related to science policy in Britain.

The event is part of the ESRC's Festival of Social Science and takes place on Thursday 12th March 2009, 9am-5pm, One Great George Street, Westminster.

Conference speakers include:Discussions will explore:What can the social sciences bring to our understanding of the public debate and decision-making process?
The event is free, but advance registration is required as places are limited. Programme details at,8073,en.html

For further information and to register, please contact:
Emma-Elizabeth Capewell, ESRC Genomics Forum Press Officer, 0131 651 4746
Christine Knight, ESRC Genomics Forum Policy Officer, 0131 651 4743

ESRC Press Office:
Kelly Barnett on Tel: 01793 413032 / 07826874166, email:
Danielle Moore on Tel: 01793 413312; e-mail:



³Established in August 2004, the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum is a novel initiative in the field of social science research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

1.As part of the ESRC Genomics Network (EGN), the Forum acts to:2.The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council to celebrate some of the country's leading social science research, giving an exciting opportunity to show everyone what the UK's social scientists are doing and demonstrating how their work makes a difference to all our lives. A programme of events can be found at:

3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It supports independent, high quality research which impacts on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2008/09 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. More at

ESRC Society Today offers free access to a broad range of social science research and presents it in a way that makes it easy to navigate and saves users valuable time. As well as bringing together all ESRC-funded research and key online resources such as the Social Science Information Gateway and the UK Data Archive, non-ESRC resources are included, for example the Office for National Statistics. The portal provides access to early findings and research summaries, as well as full texts and original datasets through integrated search facilities. More at

Economic & Social Research Council

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