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3rd Annual Symposium to address the dilemmas of regulating new technologies

The Philomathia programme at Cambridge is eagerly preparing for the 3rd annual Symposium – Body Politics: the dilemmas of regulating new technologies.

Society is facing major challenges as advances in bio-medical technologies pose fundamental philosophical, ethical, legal and political questions. Who directs investment in the search for new technologies, and who has ownership and control of them?  How are they regulated, and how are decisions about their use formulated?

Join fellow social scientists and scientists on November 18, 2016 at Magdalene College to engage with major issues of policy including:

  • Should the law allow patenting of DNA or not?
  • What are the implications of intervention to rectify ‘errors’ in DNA?
  • What are the implications of a shift to individualised treatment based on analysis of the patient’s DNA?
  • What are the limits of intervention in reproduction, and who should make the decisions?
  • And how should the shortage of organs for transplant be overcome?
  • Should there be a presumption that organs are donated unless an individual opts out?
  • How should surgeons balance the risk of using suboptimal organs against the risk of death?

The University of Cambridge has been at the forefront of development in bio-medical science in all of these areas, and this Symposium aims to enter into dialogue with social scientists and to reflect on the implications for policy through three panel sessions:

  1. Should we change EU law to disallow DNA patents?
  2. Reproduction in an era of bio-tech revolution
  3. The regulation of transplanting suboptimal organs

New this year, we will conclude with a policy roundtable and a keynote lecture featuring Professor Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science & Technology Studies, Harvard.

Click here for more information and to view the agenda.


‘The Philomathia Social Sciences Research Programme is committed to bringing together sciences and the social sciences in order to inform policy debate. This year’s Symposium follows the successful event in 2015 when we asked ‘What sort of world will we leave our grandchildren?’ This year we turn to ‘Body Politics’.  – Programme Director, Professor Martin Daunton


Booking is free, but essential.
Register for the full session here.
Register for the policy roundtable and keynote lecture.