The Kavli Foundation launches two Kavli Centers for Ethics, Science, and the Public

13 December 2021

Neuroscience News, Society & Partner News

The Kavli Foundation launches two Kavli Centers for Ethics, Science, and the Public to engage the public in exploring ethical implications born from scientific discovery. Centres at UC Berkeley and the University of Cambridge will train scientists to be aware of the ethical and societal impacts of scientific discoveries and to engage the public in early and intentional discussions about them.

The Kavli Foundation’s vision for the centres is a paradigm shift to meet an as-yet unmet need within science: a proactive and sustained effort that is intentional in connecting the public, scientists, ethicists, social scientists, and science communicators early in the process of scientific discoveries to identify and discuss potential impacts on society.

“We’re embarking on a democratisation of the way we think, collaborate, and communicate about scientific discoveries and their ethical aspects – and ensuring the public is included,” says The Kavli Foundation President Cynthia Friend. “It’s long past due for this to happen.”

Two centres were selected for this new venture based on their vision, approach, and experience. While both are multi-faceted and complementary in their approaches, working across disciplines in the sciences and humanities, each will have an initial focus that is unique.

The Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public at UC Berkeley will reimagine how scientists are trained, beginning in the fields of neuroscience, genetics, and artificial intelligence. Leading the centre is AI expert Stuart Russell, along with Nobel-Prize Laureate Saul Perlmutter, who provided some of the first evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating; Nobel and Kavli Prize Laureate Jennifer Doudna, known for her discovery of the gene-editing tool CRISPR; theoretical and moral philosopher, Jay Wallace; bioethicist, Jodi Halpern; neuroscientist, Jack Gallant; and historian and writer, Elena Conis.

In a unique collaboration with Wellcome Connecting Science, the Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public at the University of Cambridge will be led by internationally recognised social scientist and genetic counsellor, Anna Middleton; supported by sociologist and bioethicist, Richard Milne; and journalist and broadcaster, Catherine Galloway; with creative industry expertise from broadcaster Vivienne Parry OBE, sociology of education expertise from Susan Robertson and genomics and public engagement expertise from Julian Rayner. Drawing on a network of experts in ethics and public engagement from the UK, China, Russia, India, and Japan, the new centre will explore how ethical implications raised by science are tackled in different cultural contexts within the domains of genomics, big data, health research, and emerging technologies.

For more information, please go to Kavli Foundation.