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The British Government Inquires Into Science Communication. Here are my thoughts

The British Government Inquires Into Science Communication. Here are my thoughts

Today, the first evidence session of the Select Committee inquiry into Science Communication takes place at 215pm. The focus is the NERC team and the #BoatyMcBoatFace phenomenon. In a nutshell, this involved a research council inviting the public to name a new boat. The internets had a bit of fun and voted for the funny one, not the most historically serious and important one. In the end, NERC went with 'Sir David Attenborough' - who just turned 90 - but then the Internets campaigned for Sir David to change his name to #BoatyMcBoatFace. We all lolled. So, today, NERC is outlining what happened. Aside from that, here's what I submitted as evidence to the Committee.

To watch the live hearing at 215pm GMT, click HERE


Science Communication 2.0:
Priorities Going Forward

Written evidence submitted by

Professor Andy Miah, University of Salford, Manchester.

Chair in Science Communication & Future Media


1.     Examine how the Research Excellence Framework ‘Impact’ category can be better audited to measure and reward science communication work.

2.     Consider how best to embed DIY science communication into university training courses, particularly around using social media channels for communication.

3.     Audit the work of university press officers and their relationships with science journalists.

4.     Assess the extent to which science communication in public engagement events such as science festivals, meets the higher expectations of science communication – based around the ‘upstream’ model.

5.     Find ways to support best practice in the science communication industry to diminish the economic black hole of such work, which relies heavily on the good will of scientists to undertake such labour.

6.     Examine the involvement of citizen panels within funding councils.

7.     Take into account how media consumption habits are changing for the younger generation – the next generation of science audiences – particularly around mobile media.


“the UK public are as enthusiastic about science as they have ever been”… but misconceptions about how scientists work, concerns about how well science is regulated and a low level of trust in mainstream science journalism.

To understand why a lack of trust in science media is apparent, it is crucial to come to terms with the dramatic changes in media consumption and communication that have taken place over the last decade. Furthermore, it is important to take into account how science communication has evolved methodologically and whether science journalism responds to this effectively enough. This submission of evidence focuses on the following key points:

·      The Impact of Media Change

·      Recognition and Reward for Science Communicators

·      The Expansion of the Science Communication Sector

In 1985, the Bodmer Report highlighted the importance of science communication through public engagement and, since then, research in science communication has flourished, with the creation of dedicated scientific journals and University Chairs in the field emerging in several institutions around the UK.

Research discoveries have drawn attention to the inadequacies of the conventional model of science communication, which assumed a deficit in the public’s comprehension of science that needed to be filled. This assumption has been criticised heavily for inadequately characterising who are the public and for its presumption that they lack knowledge. Furthermore, this unidirectional approach to science communication is now considered an inadequate basis on which to educate. Instead, learning must involve more than simply receiving information, and integrate aspects of participation, experience, and co-production.

These insights have led to a shift from ‘deficit’ to ‘dialogue’, which recognises the importance of conversation, which is now a core part of what science communicators are doing – not just explaining work but, but conversing with audiences about it and involving them in the production of findings – as evidenced by the rise of citizen science projects.

Within the field of communication, more generally, we now see the consequence of this shift, particularly in how the media industry has evolved (Miah, 2005). Today’s dominant media are those that prioritise sharing and co-production of content. Notably, social media has transformed the media ecosystem and, along with it, the expectations of audiences. Traditional formats of journalism must find ways to adapt, but this is just beginning to happen. Examples of such platforms as Storify, Snapchat, and Facebook Instant Articles, speak to this shift, but science communicators and science journalists are not using these formats very much yet.

Audiences are no longer content with just consuming journalism, but want to play an active part in its curation. Science journalism may be inherently resistant to this, as it relies on the authoritative figure of the scientist to verify knowledge. In this respect, diminished trust may be a product of the shift in mainstream journalism towards co-creation, which may not have happened as much within science journalism. It is also important to come to terms with the relationship between the public and the media – we are in the wake of a decade of distrust about our media industry, epitomised by the Leveson Inquiry and the rise of Wikileaks.

However, achieving dialogue is not sufficient to address the concerns of the Inquiry about how to better develop trust in science. Focusing on the state of science journalism misses a big part of the picture. Rather, the state of the art in science communication methodology recognises the importance of ‘upstream’ engagement with the public. This means involving and empowering the public in decision making processes in advance of the science industry deciding where it makes investments and, despite a few attempts to embed such an approach in science over the last 10 years, it is still not a core part of how science works.

The pressures on journalists has also grown in recent years and this may have been to the detriment of science journalism. Editors expect their staff to be capable of producing work across media formats now, rather than just working as specialists. Radio is now a visual medium; writers are now also photographers. Staff numbers have been cut across newspaper platforms and yet content is expected to be developed for many more digital environments than was previously required. In turn, this has led to a greater reliance on science publicists to help produce stories, which may also contribute to diminishing trust.

Alongside this, the world of science has become much more astute at managing media stories, which may help the science industry control their narrative, but doesn’t necessarily help audiences trust science journalism or science at all. A good example of this is synthetic biology, which hit the headlines in 2007 when Craig Ventor ran a UK lecture tour, book launch, and made the front page of tabloids with research that was still in development, rather than fully realised.

Equally, there are cases where the debates around a science story seem to betray trust and this shifting sand of science stories may be an inherent problem. For example, in 2005, I was invited to comment on a story for the BBC about mitochondrial DNA transfer, an experimental technique to address the seriously debilitating consequences of having dysfunctional mtDNA. The report shows how the scientists involved made great efforts to state that any resulting, modified egg would ‘never be allowed to develop into a baby’ (BBC, 2005). Yet, a decade later, MPs have approved such use for assisting the creation of healthy lives (Mason & Devlin, 2005). While I believe this is a sensible decision in this case, for the public, it can create a sense of uncertainty about whether any new discovery and the limits to which it may be put, can ever really be trusted.

In the United Kingdom, we have a number of institutions and communities who may be better unified in their work on science communication. These include: The Science Media Centre, The UK Science Festivals Network, FameLab, The Science Museums Group, Debating Matters, Sense About Science, The MAKER Movement and, this, year, the European City of Science programme in Manchester.

There is also a range of other events/institutions who are in the business of communicating science, even if they do not identify themselves as science communication organizations. This includes a range of art festivals around the UK, such as Future Everything, Abandon Normal Devices, Future Fest, to name a few. On this point specifically, the relationship between art and science – from STEM to STEAM education – is a crucial way to make more out of the science communication opportunities within the UK – which themselves are ways of engaging the science media in a more meaningful way. Making more of bringing these two spheres together, would be a formidable way of building more opportunities to undertake science communication work.

Finally, it is crucial that the Committee takes into account the growing number of freelance science communicators around the UK, which are well supported by the BIG STEM Communicators Network, but which are presently undervalued and under supported financially and institutionally. Even the most successful Science Festivals around the UK do not have sufficient investment around them to financially remunerate their contributors and, more widely, there is an economic black hole around science communication that needs to be filled, in order for the community to grow and be appropriately valued for their work. A sound basis for engendering more interest within the university community is to build on the Research Excellence Framework’s interest in recognising ‘impact’, though more effective mechanisms of evaluating aspects of science communication within it should be developed.


In sum, the different approaches towards science communication, research impact, public engagement, public involvement, and citizen science, must be better differentiated and supported, to optimise their value and promote more opportunities to nurture trust in science communication and science journalism.



BBC (2005) Embryo with Two Mothers Approved, BBC

Mason, R. & Devlin, H. (2015) MPs vote in favour of 'three-person embryo' law, The Guardian,

Miah, A. (2005) Genetics, cyberspace and bioethics: why not a public engagement with ethics?, Public Understanding of Science, 14(4), 409-421.



Professor Andy Miah is Chair in Science Communication and Future Media, at the University of Salford, Manchester. He is 2015 winner of the Josh Award for Science Communication, and works with a range of news organizations, including the Press Association special interest group in Social Media. He is Advisory Board Member to the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, and Board Member to Manchester 2016 European City of Science. He is a member of the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Advisory Group for Digital Participation and has contributed to various European Parliament inquiries into future technology and communications.  He can be reached by email at and followed on Twitter






Digital Participation

Digital Participation

Last week, I was at the Scottish Government in Edinburgh, for one of our regular meetings of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Digital Participation. It was a really uplifting meeting, focused on the Scottish strategy to get the remaining number of the population online, who presently are not. The strategy is being driven by Fiona Hyslop MSP and is drawing on libraries as a focal point of investment.

There was a sense of needing to revisit the role of libraries for a digital age, make them core to society and communities in ways that many are not. It's a wonderful approach and a privilege to be a part of it.

European sport ministers discuss ethics, gene doping (2008, Dec 19)

European sport ministers discuss ethics, gene dopingPublished: Friday 19 December 2008 Ministers and other stakeholders acknowledge that there are corruption, match-fixing and illegal betting problems in sport and have asked the Council of Europe to tackle these and other emerging ethical challenges in sport, such as gene doping. Sport representatives gathered for a Council of Europe conference on 12 December, adopted a package of three resolutions, including measures to address sports ethics.

The ministers "acknowledge that there is a problem of corruption, match fixing and illegal betting in sport and invite sports organisations to investigate the situation and, where appropriate, identify the problems".

The Council of Europe is invited to draw up a draft recommendation which could form the basis of a new convention on these issues and help increase integrity controls.

In particular, the ministers ask the Council of Europe to address emerging challenges such as genetic engineering in sport.

Doping refers to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, which is forbidden by organisations that regulate sport competitions. It is widely seen as unethical by most international sports organisations as it damages health and undermines the equality of opportunity of athletes.

A major new ethical challenge in the fight against doping is the use of genetic engineering, declares the resolution.

Gene doping can enhance athletic performance without being detected in blood and urine tests. The issue is currently being addressed in bioethical debates about human enhancement. "One of our main priorities should be well prepared to react quickly to new ethical challenges,” agreed Birgitta Kervinen, president of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation (ENGSO).

The resolution on pan-European sport cooperation invites the Council of Europe to consider ways of increasing its cooperation with the European Union.

"I believe that it is the clear interest of EU members and non-members alike to avoid any developments which would introduce duplication and weaken pan-European arrangements for a better and healthier sport across the continent and beyond," said Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, deputy secretary-general of the Council of Europe.

The resolution on autonomy and sport reflects concerns that stakeholders have over the growing commercialisation of sport and the effects it has on the autonomy of sports movements.

IOC hopes to crack down on 'gene doping' in 2010 (2008, Jan 6)

IOC hopes to crack down on 'gene doping' in 2010Updated Sun. Jan. 6 2008 9:01 PM ET News Staff

The International Olympic Committee is hoping a test will be available to expose the next generation of athletes who engage in gene doping.

"Gene therapy--molecular based medicine--is advancing very, very quickly and it is quite possible that there could be breakthroughs in the next couple of years that could be applied to sports by 2010," Jim Rupert, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Human Kinetics told CTV News.

However, the IOC hopes new testing methods will catch those who misuse gene-based medical treatments.

"As we go forward, they are more and more confident that they will have a non-invasive test that will allow us to determine whether or not there has been artificial manipulation," said Dick Pound, IOC member and former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Gene therapy has been around for years, but remains largely untested. It involves inserting new DNA into the body's cells to correct genetic flaws that cause disease.

To increase performance, it is believed that dopers are trying to develop a method for increasing levels of a naturally occurring hormone through genetic manipulation.

"People will be pushing the envelope and looking for an edge, and if you can get a 15 or 30 per cent muscle increase in sports that require explosive strength... it's clearly something that people will think about," said Pound.

To ensure athletes end up on the podium fair and square, WADA awarded Jim Rupert a $325,000 grant to come up with a prototype test that will tell the difference between real hormones and those created by gene therapy. Rupert admits this will be difficult.

"Detecting something that's not supposed to be there is relatively easy. Detecting higher or lower levels of something that's naturally there is somewhat more challenging," he said.

Gene therapy revisited (2007, Dec 13)

Gene Therapy, RevisitedBy GRETCHEN REYNOLDS Published: December 13, 2007 In decisions followed closely by experts in performance-enhancing drugs, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health both ruled in the past two weeks that the death of an Illinois woman receiving gene therapy to treat her rheumatoid arthritis was not related to the therapy itself. The woman had developed a life-threatening infection that the regulators decided was due to other drugs she was taking.

As PLAY reported in June, gene doping -- or the attempt to alter athletes' genetic code to make them stronger, faster, bigger, more durable or otherwise inhumanly good -- piggybacks on legitimate gene therapy for ideas. Although there are no known cases of gene doping, many drug experts believe that dopers are squirreled away right now in underground labs, consulting published data about gene therapy to create their own home-brewed versions.

Which is why, in theory, the F.D.A.'s findings about the gene trial in Illinois are heartening. Gene therapy, in this case, didn't kill. Christopher Evans, a professor at Harvard Medical School, who's preparing his own gene therapy trial for osteoarthritis, speculates that dopers would have been less interested in the women's death than the promising early results from the trial. "Everything I've learned about the psychology of high-performance athletes is that they'll try anything to get an edge," he says. Last month, Evans's gene therapy human trial was pushed back by at least a year, to allow for more safety studies in animals. Gene dopers aren't likely to be so scrupulous. "Safety," Evans says dryly, "is not their main concern."

The Illinois gene therapy trial is expected to resume soon.

Warning on genetic cheating in sports (2007, Nov 1)

Warning on genetic cheating in sportsBy Roger Blitz in London Financial Times updated 7:43 p.m. CT, Thurs., Nov. 1, 2007 Genetic manipulation will eventually dwarf drug-cheating as the main issue to confront sports, the outgoing chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Thursday.

Dick Pound said he was convinced scientists would make genetic development available to athletes within five or six years, allowing them to enhance performance by bulking up their bodies by up to 30 per cent.

Mr Pound, who leaves the sports doping monitoring body at the end of the year after six years at the helm, said Wada had begun contact with leading global scientists and was running several research projects about genetic manipulation.

He said that scientists were telling Wada that they were already receiving inquiries from coaches and athletes about how genetic manipulation could improve performance - even though research is still at a stage where scientists are working in laboratory conditions with rats.

"We are working with them to have a non-invasive [test] ready by the time these techniques are being used," he told the FT.

Sports are grappling to protect their integrity following a series of high-profile drug scandals. Athletics has been rocked by the admission by US athlete Marion Jones, an Olympic champion in Sydney in 2000, that she took performance-enhancing drugs. Cycling's Tour de France endured another year of drug scandals, prompting team disqualifications and the desertion of several sponsors.

Mr Pound, who was attending an FT sports industry conference, said he believed the Marion Jones case had helped harden the mood of the US Olympic Committee after assuming for years that drug-cheating in athletics was a problem only for other countries.

But he said US professional sports continued to show a blinkered attitude. "US professional sports are in a combination of denial and responding with the absolute minimum they think they have to do to keep Congress off their backs. It is only legislation that gets their attention," said Mr Pound.

The fight against drug cheats would be improved by speeding up the process of drug testing by sporting bodies, he added. But he agreed that individual sports and their federations only tended to crack down on their stars after the painful experience of a high-profile scandal.

"It is very hard to quantify the scale of the problem. Some countries understand the problem, but don't know how to go about solving it. Some are still trying to pretend there is no problem. It will be a combination of passage of time and a willingness to assume responsibility," Mr Pound said.

He added that the Beijing Olympics next year would be equipped with state-of-the-art anti-doping testing, but Wada remained short of funds with an overall annual budget of $23m.

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ethics to guide gene quest for sport stars (2007, May 19)

Ethics to guide gene quest for sport starsJacquelin Magnay May 19, 2007 GENETICS has long been touted as the next big thing in sport - the "big" being the potential abuse of gene manipulation to enhance sporting performance.

But Australian authorities are keen to use genetics in an ethical way to identify the next big thing: the next great sporting hero.

In the past two days the bio-ethicists at the Hastings Centre in New York have grappled with their final position statement, using input from the Australian Institute of Sport's director, Peter Fricker, to clarify research issues affecting genes and sport.

Fricker is planning to submit the Hastings Centre framework to the World Anti-Doping Agency and seek permission from the Federal Government to restart athlete genetic research which was put on hold in 2004.

"We had to make sure we got the guidelines in place because it is such an important issue," he said. "But the research will be to see if genetic screening is worth doing in the first place. Is it worth making it part of the battery of current testing like heart rate∑ or do we find 99 per cent of an athlete's ability is because of coaching, physiological aspects or training and the DNA is only a small part?"

Scientists could, for example, take a sample of tissue, analyse the DNA and work out which sport an athlete is best suited to. And if the athlete had the "boxer" gene, indicating a predisposition to injury, or more serious diseases like Alzheimer's and heart disease, they could be spared long stints on the sideline with prevention programs.

The think tank's initial ideas for ethical guidelines include a requirement that athletes be at least 12 years old before being involved in research, and that the need of sports organisations who cared for athletes to know genetic information should prevail over an athlete's not wanting to know.

Human Enhancement Technologies in Sport (March, 2007)

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEECOMMITTEE OFFICE, HOUSE OF COMMONS 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA Tel. Nos. 020 7219 2793-2794 (Fax. No. - 0896) email:

20 February 2007



The Science and Technology Committee today calls for tough new measures to tackle doping in sport in the run up to the London Olympic games.

In its report, Human Enhancement Technologies in Sport, the Committee says more needs to be done if the UK is to play “clean” and set a good example for the 2012 Olympics.

Among the measures the Committee calls for are a four year ban in all incidences where doping has been proven and a mechanism whereby cheating athletes would have to repay all financial gains going back to their last clean test. Athletes should also have to disclose sources of doping before they are allowed to return to competitive sport. The Government should review the experience of those countries which have criminalised doping in sport.

The recommendations come after a far-reaching inquiry into the use of human enhancement technologies which led the Committee to conclude that the official figures on the incidence of illegal doping may not be an accurate reflection of the scale of the problem. It would like to see more research into this.

The Committee is particularly concerned at the ease by which banned, and potentially dangerous, substances can be obtained for use by athletes. But it would also like better information to prevent athletes inadvertently taking banned drugs. There should be “clear reasoning” given by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) as to why substances and methods are on the prohibited list. More attention should be paid to the science behind which substances are included on the list.

Greater emphasis should also be paid to ensuring that all drugs allowed for therapeutic use are given on the grounds of real medical need.

In the run up to the 2012 Olympics the Committee would like to see science used to develop more sophisticated detection techniques, including testing blood samples as well as urine.

The Committee wants it to be mandatory for UK athletes to compete internationally in the 12 months prior to the games before they are eligible to take part, as this would make it easier to detect unusual increases on an athletes performance.

A separate body should be established to undertake drug testing of athletes in the UK independent of UK Sport and the national government bodies of individual sports. This should also be responsible for monitoring and evaluating potential new illegal substances and methods as they are developed.

The Committee also supports the idea of a pilot project looking at the feasibility of a doping passport.

Chairman of the Committee Phil Willis said: “Sport matters to people and any scandal associated with British sportsmen or women resonates way beyond the immediate sporting world. It can be a matter of national humiliation.

“The 2012 Olympics have given us the perfect opportunity to showcase the best of  British sporting talent. We must not risk turning an occasion for national pride into one of embarrassment and disgrace. That is why the Government and the international sporting bodies concerned must do much more to identify and prevent doping scandals now.”

For media inquiries please call Laura Kibby on 020 7219 0718. For any other information please call Ana Ferreira, on 020 7219 279. Previous press notices and publications are available on our website. Notes to editors:

·          Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Science and Technology Committee is empowered to examine the “expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies”. The Committee was appointed on 19 July 2005.

·          This inquiry was announced on 1 March 2006 in Press Notice No 24 of session 2005-06.

·          Evidence sessions were held on Wednesday: 19 July 2006 when evidence was heard from: Mr Matthew Reader, Head of Elite Sports Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr John Scott, Director of Drug Free Sport, and Ms Allison Holloway, Education Manager for Drug Free Sport, UK Sport; 25 October 2006 when evidence was heard from Professor Ian McGrath, University of Glasgow and Chairman of the Physiological Society, Mr John Brewer, Director of Sports Science and the Lucozade Sport Science Academy, GlaxoSmithKline, Dr Bruce Hamilton, Chief Medical Officer, UK Athletics and Dr Anna Casey, Research Fellow, QinetiQ; 29 November 2006 when evidence was heard from; Dr Richard Budgett, Chief Medical Officer, British Olympic Association, and Dr Arne Ljungqvist, Chairman, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission and Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) Medical Research Committee; and on Tuesday 12 December when evidence was heard from Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Membership of the Committee

Mr Phil Willis (Lib Dem, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman) Chris Mole (Lab, Ipswich) Adam Afriyie (Con, Windsor) Mr Brooks Newmark (Con, Braintree) Mr Robert Flello (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent South) Dr Bob Spink (Con, Castle Point) Mrs Linda Gilroy (La/Co-op, Plymouth Sutton) Graham Stringer (Lab, Manchester, Blackley Dr Evan Harris (Lib Dem, Oxford West & Abingdon) Dr Desmond Turner (Lab, Brighton Kemptown) Dr Brian Iddon (Lab, Bolton South East)

WADA Gene Doping Stockholm Symposium (December, 2005)

WADA Gene Doping Symposium Reaches Conclusions and Recommendations Stockholm, 5 December, 2005 - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute and the Swedish Sports Confederation, held a workshop meeting in Stockholm on the subject of gene doping in sport on 4-5 December 2005.

The meeting was the second such meeting sponsored by WADA, the first being the workshop held at the Banbury Center, Long Island, New York, in March 2002. The Stockholm meeting included more than 50 participants from 15 countries and included geneticists and other biomedical scientists, ethicists, public policy experts, representatives of the International Olympic Committee, and the broad international sports community.

“In gathering top experts in various fields related to gene transfer, this symposium has helped us measure the progress of gene therapy and of detection methods for the potential misuse of gene doping by athletes, as well as broaden our perspective of the global issue,” said Dr Olivier Rabin, WADA Science Director. “Most experts do not think that gene transfer is being used by athletes yet. But we know that some athletes may be tempted to use it one day to enhance their performance. That is why WADA takes the issue so seriously.”

The participants discussed the current scientific, ethical and public policy issues related to the possibility of gene transfer for the purpose of enhancing athletic performance and reached agreement on the following principles and conclusions:

Clinical results indicate that gene transfer for the purpose of therapy (gene therapy) now represents a proven, although very immature and still experimental field of human medicine and is an important area of biomedical research with great promise for the uniquely effective correction of many other serious and intractable human diseases.

Clinical research in human gene therapy is filled with many recognized and unrecognized pitfalls and dangers. All gene transfer procedures in human subjects and patients should be required to abide by established principles and codes governing gene transfer on human subjects, with special emphasis on full disclosure of the nature and dangers of a procedure and fully informed consent by participants. Such manipulations should also be carried out strictly in accordance with existing local and national rules and regulations for gene transfer on human subjects.

The participation of physicians and other licensed professionals in gene transfer procedures that are not fully compliant with such standards of human clinical research and human experimentation should be considered medical malpractice and/or professional misconduct.

Greater interactions should be encouraged among the sports community, professional scientific organizations, licensing agencies and clinical research oversight bodies to stimulate awareness of the potential illicit use of gene transfer techniques for athletic and other enhancement purposes and to develop appropriate sanction mechanisms for illegal/or unethical application of gene transfer in sport. Public discussion on the prospect of gene-based enhancement should be promoted.

The vigorous research program that has been instituted by WADA has led to significant progress toward a better understanding of the genetic and physiological effects of doping and of scientifically rigorous methods for more effective detection of pharmacological and gene-based doping. Scientific progress made through the WADA-supported research studies that were summarized at the conference suggests that new detection methods are likely to emerge and will help to prevent tainting of sport by gene doping. Research programs instituted by WADA and other anti-doping organizations should be supported. Academic, private and government research organizations should be encouraged to dedicate resources to further progress to deter gene doping.

The use of genetic information to select for or discriminate against athletes should be strongly discouraged. This principle does not apply to legitimate medical screening or research.

Sports organizations at all levels, from student and amateur levels to international elite levels, should promote knowledge about the potential dangers associated with the misuse of genetic manipulations for athletic enhancement.

“Issues related to gene transfer are multiple,” said Karolinska Institutet’s Professor Arne Ljungqvist, Chair of WADA Health, Medical and Research Committee. “This fruitful meeting has helped address them and reached very encouraging conclusions. We will continue to work hard and to dedicate significant resources to the development of detection methods and policies so that gene doping never becomes a major issue in sport.”

“The symposium has sent a further shot across the bow of those who think we will not be able to detect gene doping,” added Professor Theodore Friedmann, Chair of WADA Gene Doping Panel. “My advice to them is: don’t be so sure. This is a very dangerous road to proceed on, and we will be ready to halt the traffic.”

For more information on gene doping, visit WADA's Web site at <> .

Gene doping inevitable but question is when: WAD

Gene doping inevitable but question is when: WADASat Dec 3, 2005 9:27 PM GMT

By Patrick Lannin, Reuters

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Changing genes to increase athletic performance, so-called gene doping, will inevitably happen so work has to start now to find tests for such changes, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Saturday.....

Gene doping is a real danger - but anti-doping science is making progress

Gene doping is a real danger - but anti-doping science is making progressWADA, Press release, 4 November, 2005 Gene therapy research has reached a critical phase. Already practised on humans as part of strictly controlled experiments, gene therapy promises to become a widely available form of treatment for injury and disease. However, advances in the science of gene therapy have a darker side: gene doping—the unscrupulous use of genetic modification to enhance athletic ability by athletes, sportspeople and coaches....

Françoise Baylis and Beckie Scott to Join CCES Board of Directors

(Ottawa, Ontario – April 12, 2006) – The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) announced today the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors. Joining the team of eminent Canadians who guide the work of the organization are Dr. Françoise Baylis, one of Canada’s most respected authorities on bioethics, and Ms. Beckie Scott, an Olympic medallist in cross-country skiing.

Human Enhancement Technologies in Sport

The title of this entry is the same as that used in the new UK inquiry from the Science and Technology Select Committee in the UK Government. It’s off to a good start already, avoiding the pejorative terminology of ‘doping’. I am optimistic that it will broaden the debate and it’s good to see it on the agenda. A representative from the Committee also attended the 'rethinking enhancement in sport' session at the James Martin Institute Tomorrow's People conference the other week (photo, with Professor Julian Savulescu).

I reproduce their press release below:

Select Committee on Science and Technology

No. 24 of Session 2005-06

1 March 2006



The Science and Technology Committee is to conduct an inquiry into the use of human enhancement technologies (HETs) in sport, with particular reference to technologies which are likely to impact on the 2012 Olympics.

The Committee is examining the opportunities and problems presented by the increasing availability of technologies capable of enhancing sporting performance and is inviting written evidence on:

 The potential for different HETs, including drugs, genetic modification and technological devices, to be used legally or otherwise for enhancing sporting performance, now and in the future;

 Steps that could be taken to minimise the use of illegal HETs at the 2012 Olympics;

 The case, both scientific and ethical, for allowing the use of different HETs in sport and the role of the public, Government and Parliament in influencing the regulatory framework for the use of HETs in sport; and

 The state of the UK research and skills base underpinning the development of new HETs, and technologies to facilitate their detection.

The Committee would welcome written evidence from interested organisations and individuals addressing these points. Evidence should be submitted by Monday 22 May 2006. Oral evidence sessions will begin in June.

Guidelines for the submission of evidence

Evidence should be submitted in Word format, and should be sent by e-mail to . The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should include a brief executive summary. Those submitting evidence are reminded that evidence should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted no public use should be made of it, but those wishing to publish their evidence before it is published by the Committee are invited to contact the Clerk of the Committee to obtain permission to do so. Guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

For further information please call Ana Ferreira, on 020 7219 2793. Previous press notices and publications are available on our website.

Notes to editors:

• Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Science and Technology Committee is empowered to examine the “expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies”. The Committee was appointed on 19 July 2005.

Membership of the Committee

Mr Phil Willis (Lib Dem, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman) Adam Afriyie (Con, Windsor) Mr Robert Flello (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent South) Mr Jim Devine (Lab, Livingston) Dr Evan Harris (Lib Dem, Oxford West & Abingdon) Dr Brian Iddon (Lab, Bolton South East) Margaret Moran (Lab, Luton South) Mr Brooks Newmark (Con, Braintree) Anne Snelgrove (Lab/Co-op, South Swindon) Bob Spink (Con, Castle Point) Dr Desmond Turner (Lab, Brighton Kemptown)