Centre for Law and Genetics
The biotechnology industry, in all its sectors, is increasingly global in its corporate structures and its sphere of influence. Consequently, there is a range of issues relating to the industry’s research and development that have the potential to impact significantly on humanity and the global environment. Global, multidisciplinary collaboration will be key to identifying and addressing these multifaceted ethical, legal and social implications. It is with this in mind that the Centre for Law and Genetics is hosting this important Biotechnology, Ethics, Law & Society (BELS) Network. All those working in the field are invited to join colleagues from around the world in an online community.
The Network’s membership so far consists of leading scholars in a range of relevant disciplines, including law, ethics, sociology, epidemiology, medicine, genetics, political science, philosophy, social work and management. Its scope is international, with scholars from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the USA. Through its members the Network is linked to key institutions across the globe.
The BELS Network had its genesis in 2004 (formerly BHENELSI) through a collaborative effort between the Centre for Law and Genetics (University of Tasmania), the Sydney School of Law (University of Sydney) and the Centre for Values, Ethics & the Law in Medicine (University of Sydney).
The key aim of the BELS Network is to facilitate multidisciplinary, international dialogue and collaboration between scholars and professionals concerned with the ethical, legal and social implications of biotechnology. This dialogue and collaboration could range from informing colleagues of new developments, to establishing an open Forum discussion, to seeking out individuals with, for example, a particular expertise - perhaps simply for advice or to collaborate in a research proposal. The extent to which the Network achieves this aim is clearly in the hands of its members.
Browse and search facility
Both members and non-members have access to the Members page and the browse and search facilities provided. Individual members’ profiles can be browsed (by clicking on the link next to their name) or searched. The profiles provide information on the individual’s title, institution(s), expertise, discipline(s), research projects, relevant publications, memberships and positions. The search facility will provide a list of members whose profiles fit the search parameters in any of the above categories.
The Forum is open to members only. This facility allows members to post notices (such as conference announcements, new publications, job vacancies) and establish online discussion groups aimed at, for example, seeking input to a problem from different perspectives, developing collaborative research proposals, or producing collaborative publications, submissions, policy recommendations and other documents.
If you would like to be a part of this endeavour, please follow the link on the Members page to the membership policy and application.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) provided seed funding for the Network in 2004. In 2005, further funding from the ARC provided for an integration of the Network’s online presence into the CLG website, and improved access and functionality for both Network members and the general public.
Thanks go to Justice Michael Kirby (High Court of Australia) and Professor David Weisbrot (Australian Law Reform Commission) for their support and encouragement from the very start of the project.
Thanks also to the many international collaborators that provided input, advice and encouragement. In particular, Professor Deryck Beyleveld (University of Sheffield), Professor Carole Browner (University of California), Professor Ruth Chadwick (Lancaster University), Professor Robert Dingwall (University of Nottingham), Professor Jeffery Kahn (University of Minnesota), Professor Bartha Knoppers (University of Toronto), Professor Alan Petersen (University of Plymouth), Professor Andrew Webster (University of York), and Professor Jeong-ro Yoon (Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology).
And finally, thanks to all the Australian collaborators – too many to mention – that contributed so much to the development of the Network, in particular the Management Team (now disbanded) that coordinated the work:
Professor Don Chalmers (Convenor), Dr Mark Stranger (Administrator), Professor Margaret Otlowski and Dr Dianne Nicol (University of Tasmania)
Professor Ben Boer, Associate Professor Belinda Bennett and Associate Professor Ian Kerridge (University of Sydney) Associate Professor Susan Dodds (University of Wollongong) Professor Wayne Hall (University of Queensland)