Research using human embryonic stem cells is arguably one of the areas of greatest social, ethical and regulatory complexity. Working collaboratively with stem cell scientists, social scientists, students, teachers and filmmakers, we have produced a short film and are developing a role-play, to facilitate engagement of the broadest possible community of stakeholders in stem cell research.

The 15-minute film, A Stem Cell Story, aims to foster public engagement by making the science behind the issues accessible. Taking as a starting point the questions stem cell scientists are asked by the public, the film presents the fundamentals of stem cell research in a stimulating and visually innovative way.

 The proposed scenario for the role-play Stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries. Ready or not? is that of a public meeting of a Research Ethics Committee, to decide on a clinical trial into the use of human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injury. The aims are to examine the participants’ views on several issues, and to empower them to engage in the debates surrounding stem cell research and biomedical science in general.

Preliminary analyses indicate that these initiatives constitute unique and useful tools for teachers, patient groups, and other interested stakeholders - including scientists themselves in their own outreach work.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Promoting dialogue around developments in stem cell research

Ana Coutinho   MRC/JDRF Centre Development in Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Stem Cell

Kate Doherty   European Consortium for Stem Cell Research (EuroStemCell), c/o Institute for Stem Cell

Sarah Cunningham-Burley   School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Sarah Parry   School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Clare Blackburn   European Consortium for Stem Cell Research (EuroStemCell), c/o Institute for Stem Cell

Austin Smith – MRC/JDRF Centre Development in Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Stem Cell

Research using human embryonic stem cells is arguably one of the areas of greatest social, ethical and regulatory complexity. Working collaboratively with stem cell scientists, social scientists, students, teachers and filmmakers, we have produced a short film and are developing a role-play, to facilitate engagement of the broadest possible community of stakeholders in stem cell research.

The 15-minute film, A Stem Cell Story, aims to foster public engagement by making the science behind the issues accessible. Taking as a starting point the questions stem cell scientists are asked by the public, the film presents the fundamentals of stem cell research in a stimulating and visually innovative way.

 The proposed scenario for the role-play Stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries. Ready or not? is that of a public meeting of a Research Ethics Committee, to decide on a clinical trial into the use of human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injury. The aims are to examine the participants’ views on several issues, and to empower them to engage in the debates surrounding stem cell research and biomedical science in general.

Preliminary analyses indicate that these initiatives constitute unique and useful tools for teachers, patient groups, and other interested stakeholders - including scientists themselves in their own outreach work.

[PDF 189.86 kB]Download the full paper (PDF 189.86 kB)

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