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The INES Global Responsibility Newsletter reports and comments  –  from a global perspective – on political, technical and societal developments and comprises of regular internal news sections.
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29.11.2011: INES 20th Anniversary



Photo © UNEP (2009)

6. November, 2011

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflic

Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war.Water wells have been polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage.

For further information please click here.


9. - 14. August, 2011

European Academy for social Movements

Building our common Future - Developing alternatives for a better world

The European Attac Network is conducting a „European Network Academy for Social Movements“ (ENA) in Freiburg/Germany. Building upon the great success of the first Europe-wide Attac Summer university in 2008 in Saarbruecken/Germany, we would like to set another important milestone in the success story of Attac in a new period of globalisation and of the movements critical of globalisation.
We invite activists from all social movements to actively participate and look forward to the discussions with people from all parts of he world with their ideas and perspectives or a better world.

Visit ENA website.

Read program.

21. 9. 2011

Public Research should benefit Society, not big business II

By today, 119 organisations (mainly NGOs and a few scientists networks) from across Europe support the initiative. In order to make more impact towards policy makers in Brussels we would like to ask you individually - and especially  scientists- to sign the letter. Signing is at: http://sciencescitoyennes.org/open-letter-eu-research/

Other organisations like NGOs, organisations/networks of scientists, university departments should send a message to openletter_csf2011sciencescitoyennesorg

We have right now signatures from 1250 individuals including 300 from scientists.
To read the letter and see the actual list of supporters please click here.

29. June 2011

Public Research should benefit Society, not big business

Scientists and NGOs slam Commission's Research funding plans

In an open letter sent today to the President and Members of the European Commission as well as the European Parliament and the EU Member states, 98 civil society and research organisations from across Europe warn that the Commission's draft proposals for the next Research funding framework (2014-2020) fail to address the real challenges faced by European societies and call for a research agenda geared towards the needs of society and the environment rather than those of big business.

The open letter is now open to individual signatories. To sign and to find 6 translations of the letter (english, french, german, spanish, italian and polish) please visit sciencescitoyennes.org/open-letter-eu-research/

Read the open letter and see the first signatories list:


Source: http://profeng.com/features/at-what-cost/page:2

6. June 2011

At what cost?

Some scientists are concerned about the ethical and legal dimensions of emerging technologies such as geo-engineering and unmanned aerial vehicles.

3-page article about the recent conference of Scientist for Global Responsibility (SGR), UK in the latest issue of Professional Engineering - see: profeng.com/features/at-what-cost


The Nuclear Crystal Ball Contest

Imagine looking into a crystal ball. What would the world look like if nuclear weapons spread worldwide?

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) wants to draw attention to the risks of nuclear proliferation. Regional arms races and nuclear terrorism are just some of the risks we might face if nuclear weapons continue to spread.

  • There are currently 8,400 active and operational nuclear weapons worldwide.
  • Thousands of warheads remain on high alert. There have been over 20 recorded instances of false alarms (including computer glitches) that were narrowly avoided.
  • The United States and Russia possess 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Six other countries have confirmed possession of nuclear weapons.
  • The risk of nuclear proliferation increases if the commitments of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are not honored and the verification regime is not maintained.

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is hosting a global contest for youth (ages 15-25) to design a poster, a t-shirt or to shoot a video envisioning a world full of nuclear weapons.

Deadline: June 8, 2011
See flyer attached (pls. note the extended deadline!) or  www.wfuna.org/nuclear-crystal-ball

22. April 2011

Earth Day

By David Krieger

I keep thinking that Earth Day should be about something far more profound than recycling. Not that recycling isn’t good. It’s just not good enough. We humans are destroying our earth: using up its topsoil, devouring its precious resources, polluting its air and water, altering its climate. And we are bombing and shelling the earth and each other with our wasteful and destructive military technologies. In short, we are behaving extremely badly and fouling our own nest. And we are doing this not only to ourselves, but to future generations.
Read on

To read the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, click here.


Workshop on "Preparing students in science and engineering for social responsibility"

13.-15. October 2010
Delft University of Technology / Delft, Netherlands

Read the report of Prof. Claus Montonen

See website: ethicsandtechnology.eu/socialresponsibility/

18. October 2010, Copenhagen/Denmark

The INESPE Lecture Series on the Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists

Eighth lecture: Dr. Stephanie J. Bird: "Socially Responsible Science and Engineering: What is Expected?"

Scientists and engineers are generally well regarded and respected for their technical knowledge and expertise. While the general populous considers the science and engineering communities to be part of society as a whole, these communities can seem to consider themselves apart from society, particularly with regard to professional standards, values and responsibilities. As a result, those within and those outside of science and engineering may have different expectations regarding the concept of socially responsible science and engineering. Explicit discussion among members of the science and engineering communities and also with the larger society regarding the range of professional responsibilities and the meaning of social responsibility is essential. Open, proactive discussion is key to clarifying and enhancing the role of science, technology and engineering in promoting the aims of society.

Further info: inespe.org/lectures


Seventh Lecture: Prof. Luis Radford

"Mathematics, knowing and being:
Is there a way out of the individualist self of modernity?"

Auditorium 001, Copenhagen Institute of Technology, Lautrupvang 2B, DK-2750 Ballerup.

The late Middle-Ages and early Renaissance witnessed the emergence of a new conception of the self. One distinctive trait of this new conception was an emphasis on self-making. Such an individualistic conception served to build the modern idea of what a person should be. Within the spectacular growth of Renaissance trade and commerce, mathematics lost (some of) the aristocratic ethical value with which Plato endowed it to become, in the hands of merchants and business men, a tool to pursue the quest of personal interests. But the sphere of actions and implications of mathematics was not limited to the construction of new identities. Mathematics also played a role in the formation of a new idea of nature.

Read on

Science and Democracy:
The Dialogue Between Scientists and Citizens

by Jean-Paul Lainé
November 2008

Science and Technology are Today at the Very Heart of our Societies
They concretely influence the life of all people at all levels, regional, national and international. They range from the basic day-to-day work conditions to their cultural surrounding and the media in their country, from politics to economy, from environmental issues to military budgets. However the enormous development of knowledge and technologies is suffering from two mistakes: it is mostly happening in a few countries and is not shared amongst all populations. These characteristics influence the nature of research, particularly of applied research and the kind of people who benefit from it.

read on


Prof. Benjamin Kuipers
Photo: The University of Texas Austin

Sixth INESPE Lecture on the Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists

Why don't I take military funding?

Prof. Benjamin Kuipers, University of Texas at Austin
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 13.15 hours

Venue: Auditorium D, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 17, DK-2100 Copenhagen.

Abstract: I don't take funding from military agencies. Why not?
Mostly it's a testimony that it's possible to have a successful career in computer science without taking military funding. My position has its roots in the Vietnam War, when I was a conscientious objector, did alternative service instead of submitting to the draft, and joined the Society of Friends (Quakers). During the 1980s and 90s, the position seemed to lose some of its urgency, so it became more of a testimony about career paths.
Since September 11, 2001, all the urgency is back. The defense of our country is at stake, so this testimony becomes critical. In short, I believe that non-violent methods of conflict resolution provide the only methods for protecting our country against the deadly threats we face in the long run. Military action, with its inevitable consequences to civilian populations, creates and fuels deadly threats, and therefore increases the danger that our country faces.
I will discuss the origin and evolution of my beliefs and my attitudes toward the role of the military in our society, and towards military-funded research.

Benjamin Kuipers holds an endowed Professorship in Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. He investigates the representation of commonsense and expert knowledge, with particular emphasis on the effective use of incomplete knowledge. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College, and his Ph.D. from MIT. He has held research or faculty appointments at MIT, Tufts University, and the University of Texas. His research accomplishments include developing the TOUR model of
spatial knowledge in the cognitive map, the QSIM algorithm for qualitative simulation, the Algernon system for knowledge representation, and the Spatial Semantic Hierarchy model of knowledge for robot exploration and mapping. He has served as Department Chairman, and is a Fellow of AAAI and IEEE.

World Forum on Sciences and Democracy

By Reiner Braun and Jean-Paul Lainé
October 2008

Since 2001, World Social Forums have gradually structured the agendas of thousands of NGOs, the  media, unions, social movements, local authorities, institutions and even governments across  the planet. Today they are considered as major events to elaborate, share and build social, cultural and economic transformations on global  and local levels.  The next WSF will be in Belem, Brazil, from January 26th to February 1st 2009.

read on


The Fifth INESPE Lecture on the Social Responsibility
of Engineers and Scientists

Solving the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Problems Together: The Role of Scientists and Engineers

Mohan Munasinghe
Vice Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Chairman, Munasinghe Institute for Development (MIND)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 13.15 hours

Auditorium 3, H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen,
Universitetsparken 5, DK-2100 Copenhagen.

The lecture will begin with a review of the main findings from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) relating to climate change science, impacts and adaptation, and mitigation. Their importance and relevance for policy and implementation will be explored. Climate change response policies (adaptation and mitigation) need to be fully integrated into sustainable development strategy. A practical framework called Sustainomics, based on making development more sustainable (MDMS), permits us to address traditional development issues like poverty, food security, health, employment, etc, while simultaneously taking steps to deal with longer term problems such as climate change. CC will undermine SD prospects, and future development paths will affect climate change, in a circular fashion. Synergies between CC and SD may be exploited, while trade-offs need to be resolved. The importance of trans-disciplinary analysis will explained, including the role of scientists and engineers in developing practical solutions. Case studies will be briefly summarized, which illustrate the approach at global/transnational, national/macroeconomic, sectoral/ecosystem, and local/project.

The lecture is based on a recent book Making Development More Sustainable: Sustainomics Framework and Practical Applications? by Mohan Munasinghe. Copies (personally autographed) will be available for sale after the lecture.

More info on the INESPE Lecture Series on the Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists at http://inespe.org/lectures. The Lecture Series is organized in collaboration with Center for the Philosophy of Nature and Science Studies at the University of Copenhagen.


Dr. Ignacio Chapela
Photo: www.mindfully.org

Fourth INESPE Lecture on the Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists

Berkeley, Biology and British Petroleum: Public Academics and the Academician in a Corporatized World

Dr. Ignacio Chapela
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 14.15 at Auditorium A

Venue: Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 17, DK-2100 Copenhagen.

In 1997, and then again in 2007, the University of California at Berkeley was the epicenter of key developments in the history of public research institutions, universities and academe in general.The proposal to have intimate and very substantial financial relationships with two major transnational corporations (Novartis and British Petroleum, a.k.a. BP) was met, in both occasions, with opposition on the part of some faculty and many members of the public. The dynamics of these local developments can be seen as emblematic of much larger processes taking place within the Modern enterprise of a social programme based on innovation and RD&D (Research, Development and Delivery). This presentation will discuss the incorporation of Biology, through biotechnology, into the paradigm of RD&D progress, specifically from the viewpoint of Berkeley and the University of California. Here, the forces driving much of science and academe in our days are clearly discernible: on the side of industrial development those forces include corporatization, entrepreneurship, reliance on intellectual property protection and venture-capital, while on the other hand academia is impacted by the rise of big science, politization and militarization. How these forces work in tension with each other will be analyzed using the case-study of the presenter, who has been engaged in opposition to privatizing forces in Berkeley and to the final incorporation of Biology into the world of corporations and large, concentrated venture capital. In discussion with the audience, we will scrutinize the options available to individual scientists, engineers and academicians in general, in the face of forces that would appear overwhelming. What are the alternatives? How to balance public principles with personal interests? How is the public represented in the work of academe? Whence has academic freedom wandered?

Ignacio Chapela is an Associate Professor at Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. University of California, Berkeley.

See: www.inespe.org

Horizontal gene transfer at plant-surface sites

Read Ignacio Chapelas comment on a new landmark study on gene leakage (October 2010)



Third INESPE Lecture on the Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists

Nuclear Weapons and the Responsibility of Scientists.

Dr. David Krieger, Friday, September 28, 2007 at the University of Copenhagen.

I will discuss how nuclear weapons have changed our world and how some key nuclear scientists have responded to them. I will discuss Leo Szilard, Albert Einstein, Joseph Rotblat, Linus Pauling and Hans Bethe. I will also discuss the importance of the student protest at the University of California to the University's continued management and oversight of the US nuclear weapons laboratories.

read on

Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility

By David Krieger

I have just returned from Berlin and the annual Council meeting of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES). This is an organization much needed in our world, one that supports the ethical uses of science and technology for disarmament and sustainable development. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has helped to foster the work of this international organization since the inception of INES more than 15 years ago.

read on

Defense Research and Development - 50 years of history

Presentation to the INES Council Meeting 2006 by Prof. Dr. Guillermo A. Lemarchand, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Download presentation (PowerPoint): Guillermo-Defense_R&D_Policies.ppt (849K)

Download presentation (PDF): Guillermo-Defense_R&D_Policies.pdf (1021K)


Second INESPE Lecture on the Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists

Responsibilities of scientists in a dangerous world

Prof. Harold Kroto, Nobel Prize Laureate, May 31, 2007, Berlin, Germany

Sir Harold Kroto has been an active researcher for most of his life. In 1996, he got the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for co-discovering the C60 carbon molecule used in nanotechnology. “Having chosen something worth doing, never give up and try not to let anyone down”, he uses to say.

Listen to the lecture (48.9 MB):

First INESPE Lecture on the Social Responsibility of Engineers and Scientists

The social irresponsibility of scientists

Jean-Jacques Salomon, 18.04.2007

Auditorium A
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
Blegdamsvej 17, DK-2100 Copenhagen.

The future of the world depends upon scientists – men and women who are constantly striving to advance our knowledge. Yet most of them claim to bear no responsibility for the consequences of their work: as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father" of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, used to say, physics has known sin, but let's not confuse the actor and the instrument. Today, scientists play a variety of roles: as researchers, experts, strategists, diplomats, in the military and in trade, as industrialists or spies, even as traffickers or mercenaries; they are at home as advisors in government circles, military HQs and on boards of directors. Many are both warriors and missionaries for peace, defining a community in denial which questions whether there is still a place for socially responsible science or whether the courage of individual "dissidents" like Einstein, Bohr and Sakharov remains the only model for resisting the temptations and pressures from the military-industrial complex they nourish but also rely on.

read on