Conférence : « The Integrity of Science » (Edimbourg et en ligne)

A conference about the conflict between public policy and independent science, in honour of Dr. Árpád Pusztai (1930 – 2021).
Edinburgh (UK), 26 – 27 May 2023.
Open to both on site and online participation.
Followed by the Annual General Meeting of ENSSER, 28 May 2023.

Organised by :
- European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)
- Mariolopoulos Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences
- Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS)
- Association des Amis de la Génération Thunberg

Funded by :
- Triodos Foundation
- Mariolopoulos Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences
- Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS)
- European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)

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The conference will be in two parts :
- Day one (26 May 2023) will honour Dr Árpád Pusztai (who passed away in 2021) and will recall his work and discuss the controversies of his later findings.
- Day two (27 May 2023) will probe the continuing conflicts between public policy and critical science, with the purpose of improving public understanding and use of science.

Day 1 : A memorial to Dr. Árpád Pusztai

Friday, 26 May 2023, 15:00 – 22:00 GMT

In 1998, Dr. Árpád Pusztai, a world expert on plant lectins, sparked a public debate on the safety of genetically modified (GM) food by speaking on the British TV programme World in Action about the health damage he found in rats fed GM potatoes containing lectins in preliminary tests. As a result of this brief TV interview, he was suspended from his job at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland.

His research had been commissioned by the Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department of the Scottish Office (the precursor of the present Scottish government). The sharp and prolonged criticism from scientific circles which followed the events, has never been substantiated by tenable scientific arguments. Indeed, his findings have been supported by other independent research that also casts doubt on the safety of some GM food.

Pusztai’s standing as a biochemist and specialist on animal feed was recognised and beyond doubt before these events.

This memorial will describe this episode. We hope we can lay the controversies to rest.

Speakers :

  • P. Nicolopoulou-Stamati, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, Chair of ENSSER and Secretary of the Board of Mariolopoulos Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences
    Opening of the conference
  • Stanley Ewen, Histopathology Dept., University of Aberdeen, Scotland :
    Difficult days in the Pathology Department
  • Susan Bardocz, Professor of Human Nutrition, University of Debrecen, Hungary :
    Dr. Árpád Pusztai, the private person
  • Angelika Hilbeck, Institute of Integrative Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland
    Árpád Pusztai – Recipient of the German Whistleblower Prize
  • Emeritus Prof. Vyvyan Howard, Professor of Bioimaging, Biomedical Sciences Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland
    My association with Dr. Árpád Pusztai – an honest scientist
  • Andrew Rowell, author
    Reflections on the Pusztai affair

Day 2 : Conference “The Integrity of Science”

Saturday, 27 May 2023, 10:00 – 17:00 GMT

Pusztai’s story is not unique. Fundamental scientific research is often suppressed in areas where human or environmental health or biodiversity are shown or suspected to be at risk, and even when a new finding is merely unconventional.

In day two, the corruptive influence of entrenched or commercial interests on science in the last decades will be described and analysed, with references to many similar cases (tobacco, asbestos, pesticides, electromagnetic radiation, PFAS, climate change, COVID19, etc.). The list of lessons not learned from early scientific warnings [1] still grows. The grave consequences of this corruption of science for the future of humanity and our planet will be the focus of the conference.

We hope that this conference will inspire fuller appreciation of the values of science, beyond the community of scientists, especially including young scientists.

Speakers :

  • Ulrich Loening, Centre for Human Ecology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland :
    A damaging hidden divide in our scientific endeavour – The solution requires a shift towards a “con vivo” science
  • Geoffrey Boulton, University of Edinburgh, Scotland :
    Science as a public good : open science and scientific integrity
  • Vyvyan Howard, Biomedical Sciences Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland :
    Innapropriate use of regulatory risk assessment to demonstrate ‘safety’ – unstated, unrealistic assumptions
  • Ignacio Chapela, Professor, Dept. of Environmental Science, University of California Berkeley, USA :
    Science Suspended at the Turn of Century : Collision of a Political Imperative against Evidence and Critical Enquiry
  • Marie Chollat-namy, République des Savoirs, École Normale Supérieure Paris and Vice President of the Association des Amis de la Génération Thunberg :
    The decline of theorization : a threat to the integrity of science
  • Christine von Weizsäcker, Advisory Board of the Federation of German Scientists and Scientific Committee of the German Society on Human Ecology :
    On Technology, Ignorance and Responsibility
  • Larissa Bombardi, University of São Paulo, Brazil
    Geography of Asymmetries and Chemical Colonialism – A Brazilian Woman Geographer in Exile
  • Georgina Catacora – Vargas, Bolivian Catholic University San Pablo, La Paz, Bolivia :
    Deceptive science – Manipulated methods and trimmed information in biosafety of GM crops. Reflections on two cases from Latin America
  • Brian Wynne, Professor of Science Studies, Lancaster University, England and Dr. Irina Passos Natário de Castro, University of Coimbra, Portugal
    Silencing of science : the importance of integrity in confronting suppression of dissent science
  • P. Nicolopoulou-Stamati, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, Chair of ENSSER and Secretary of the Board of Mariolopoulos Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences
    Closing of the conference

Venue
Royal Society of Edinburgh
22 – 26 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 2PQ
Scotland

Recording
The entire conference (lectures and discussion sessions, both on site and online) will be recorded and published.

Registration fees
Both on site and online participation is possible.
Voluntary fees, both for online and on site participation :
Please consider making a donation towards covering the considerable costs of this conference, e.g. :
€ 5 (reduced), € 30 (regular), € 60 (solidary),
or any amount with which you wish to support us ;
payable to our bank account with reference “conference fee” or to our paypal account (scroll down and click on the button “spenden”).

Registration

For online registration, please register here : https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LeAEaWcoT3aMACAIcAxF_g
For on site registration, please register here :
https://ensser.org/events/events_2023/registration-integrity-of-science/

Your registration will be confirmed.

Accommodation
The conference takes place in Whitsunday weekend, so it is advisable to book accommodation as soon as possible.

Informations pratiques

Le vendredi 26 mai 2023 de 17:00 à 23:59
Royal Society of Edinburgh (ou en ligne) -

22 – 26 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 2PQ
Scotland

Le samedi 27 mai 2023 de 12:00 à 19:00
Royal Society of Edinburgh (ou en ligne) -

22 – 26 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 2PQ
Scotland


[1European Environment Agency, “Late Lessons from Early Warnings”, Vols. I and II, Copenhagen, 2001 and 2013.