Professor Michael Banner will join the University from King's College London, to be Director of the ESRC Genomics Research Forum. Professor Banner is well known in science and public policy arenas. He is currently Chair of the Home Office Animal Procedures Committee, and formerly chaired the Department of Health's CJD Incidents Panel. He has served as a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission. Professor Banner has a distinguished academic career in Philosophy and Theology, with a particular interest in science and public policy and understanding the part played by moral beliefs in forming the social context in which technologies are assessed.
The Genomics Research Forum has been awarded to the University of Edinburgh by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, with additional funding from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. ESRC have supported the Forum to ensure that social sciences can contribute more effectively to a better understanding of the social, policy, legal and ethical issues surrounding the current scientific and technological advances in biotechnology and genomics. As Forum Director Professor Banner will work closely with the major Genomics Research Centres that ESRC has recently established:
- The Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGEN), at the University of Lancaster/University of Cardiff
- The Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (INNOGEN) at the University of Edinburgh, and
- The ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (EGENIS) at the University of Exeter
- The ESRC Genomics Research Forum will exploit synergies across these three major research centres and beyond and will develop new research links and activities involving social scientists, medical and biological scientists, policy makers, and members of the general public.