UCs Host Science Ethics & Policy Symposium

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Science Policy Groups at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are co-hosting the Science Ethics and Policy Symposium (SEPS 2022) on April 8 and 9 in Berkeley. More than 200 early career scientists and engineers from across the country will attend the event, themed “From Plants to Privacy: Science Ethics for the Modern Era.”

The symposium is the largest trainee-organized science policy gathering in the nation.

Diverse speaking panels, skill-building workshops, and attendee flash talks will explore the many implications of advances in agriculture, gene editing, privacy, and health.

Prioritizing these discussions is a crucial step for the advancement of technological innovation. Scientific progress can benefit society immeasurably, but only if these benefits are ensured for every community.

“If we want to get at the root of ethical issues in science, it seems appropriate, even symbolic, to hold this conference at the heart of where many of these innovations originate,” said Juliana Chase, Symposium Organizer at UC Berkeley.

“California leads the nation in progressive science-based legislation, with the Bay Area standing as a world epicenter for technological discovery, elevating this area to the forefront of global conversations. The University of California, Berkeley has a rich legacy of shaping movements that create activism, scientific endeavors, and legislative transparency.”

“Many people believe that science is somehow uniquely apolitical,” said Elina Kostyanovskaya, Symposium Organizer at UC San Francisco.

“We hope that as a result of this symposium scientists will come to understand that the data, methods, and technology we create do not exist in a bubble. Introducing powerful technologies without limits risks perpetuating inequalities and societal problems. Through this symposium, we strive to inspire scientists to understand and act upon the ethical, socioeconomic, and political implications of their work.”

The Science Policy Groups at Berkeley and San Francisco are mainly comprised of PhD/professional and postdoctoral students, who designed the symposium to offer workshops that empower early career scientists to build change.

Topical panels and community-building elements will spark solutions-oriented discussions and facilitate professional connections that will benefit attendees far beyond the weekend in Berkeley.

“Our symposium brings together people from across the country to build community around issues of science policy,” said Anna Wright, Symposium Coordinator working remotely from Colorado State University.

“It is completely organized by volunteers, most of whom are full-time graduate students or postdoctoral scholars, who are passionate about creating space to consider the consequences of science beyond the lab.

“We are excited to welcome anyone concerned with the ethics of technology: scientists, policymakers, engineers, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizers, community members, and more.”

To view the full schedule and register for SEPS 2022, visit seps2022.com.

The symposium prioritizes in-person attendance, and it offers virtual attendance for speaking events and workshops at a reduced price.