Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Public Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar
Developing stem cell applications : what role for the private sector?
This two-part public event was also organised by the ‘Talking About Stem Cells’ project team and supported by the Genomics Forum via the CBAR Stem Cells award. It provided participants with an opportunity to learn about and reflect on issues raised by the commercial development of stem cell research. During the first phase of the ‘Talking About Stem Cells’ project, many of the groups involved had raised questions and concerns about the role of commercial interests in shaping the development of new applications from stem cell research. Some were sceptical about the impact of a ‘profit motive’ in relation to health applications and the wider public good. At the same time, some working in stem cell research pointed out that because the field is so speculative, the costs of developing new technologies cannot be borne solely by the public purse: private sector players are needed in order to progress promising avenues. Yet even these stakeholders voiced concerns – for example, about the appropriate boundaries between public and private sector funding, or about the ‘ownership’ of stem cell lines. This pair of events was designed to bring together people actually working on commercial applications of stem cell research with any interested members of the public – including but not only people from patient groups – to discuss constructively any issues arising. It offered a unique opportunity to: - learn more about the complex processes by which new technologies are being developed from stem cell research - question and discuss constructively any issues of potential concern about the role of commercial interests in developing stem cell applications - learn about what issues worry other people, be they stakeholders or wider publics - generate suggestions to address some of these issues