UK-China Dialogue on Governing Trust in the Biosciences

On 22 and 23 February, my ESRC project held its concluding conference at the British Academy. 30 delegates who are leading figures in their respective fields in China and the UK joined the discussion.

The event featured two keynote presentations and six sessions. Baroness Onora O’Neill’s thought-provoking opening keynote reflected on ways of conceptualising trust, trustworthiness and intelligent accountability. Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser’s extremely engaging keynote ‘Scientist, Public and the Great Wall’ examined the ingroup/outgroup phenomena in science-society interface, and discussed intervention points where a different culture can be nurtured to help dismantling the ‘great wall’ that seems to have isolated science from the general public.

In her presentation, Dr. Zhiqin Du, Deputy Secretary General of the Chinese Medical Association (CMA) lauded the Educational Module Resource (EMR) created and promoted by this GSA-China project as ‘an excellent experiment’ and expressed that the CMA looked forward ‘to joining forces in the promotion of this topic in China’. This point was later echoed by Professor Xian-En Zhang, former Director General of Basic Research at China’s Ministry of Science.

The conference concluded with a closed roundtable discussion. As there was strong recognition from both British and Chinese participants on the rare momentum the project had created on the promotion of public engagement in China, key partners involved discussed practicalities in taking the UK-China Consortium on Scientific Communication forward.

The full Conference Report, written by Research Officer Tom Douglass can be accessed here: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/gsa-news/files/2018/03/Conference-report.pdf

The Project Report can be accessed here: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/gsa-news/files/2018/01/GSA-Project-Report.pdf

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