Ethics in Neuroscience Curricula: A Survey of Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK, and the US
- 383 Downloads
This paper analyses ethical training in neuroscience curricula at universities in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. The main findings are that 52 % of all courses have ethical training available, while in 82 % of those cases, the training is mandatory. In terms of specific contents of the teaching, ethical issues about ‘animal subjects and human participation in research’, ‘scientific misconduct’, and ‘treatment of data’ were the most prominent. A special emphasis during the research was placed on the prevalence of dual-use bioethics. In total, only 3 % of all courses mention it in any of their modules. One of the major findings of the survey was the trend towards ‘mainstreaming’ ethics education particularly in the UK, which is to disperse ethics among the various modules within the education instead of relying on a single ethics module. The paper discusses the utility of this approach for science education as well as describes the overall difficulties that course coordinators face when trying to teach ethics based on the responses to the qualitative part to the survey.
KeywordsEducation Ethics Survey Neuroscience Dual-use Universities
- 1.United Nations. 2008. Report of the meeting of state parties [online]. BWC/MSP/2008/5, 12 December, Geneva: United Nations. http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/%28httpPages%29/008056527905C32EC125755A004B2B1B?OpenDocument. Accessed 26 September 2012.
- 2.Enserink, M. 2011. Scientists Brace for Media Storm Around Controversial Flu Studies. ScienceInsider, 23 November 2011. http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/11/scientists-brace-for-media-storm.html. Accessed 26 September 2012.
- 3.US National Research Council, Committee on Military and Intelligence Methodology for Emergent Neurophysiological, and Cognitive/Neural Science Research in the Next Two Decades. 2008. Emerging cognitive neuroscience and related technologies. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- 4.The Royal Society. 2012. Brain waves module 3: Neuroscience, conflict and security. London: The Royal Society.Google Scholar
- 5.Illes, J., and B.J. Sahakian. 2011. The oxford handbook of neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 9.Russell, J. 2006. Breaking into the mainstream: the rise of ethics education. Ethical Corporation, European Academy of Business in Society, May: 4–6.Google Scholar
- 11.Johnson, J. 2010. Teaching ethics to science students: Challenges and a strategy. In Education and ethics in the life sciences, ed. B. Rappert, 197–213. Canberra: ANU E Press.Google Scholar
- 12.Whitby, S. 2012. Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention: Preserving academic and scientific freedom. Science, People, and Politics (3)2. http://www.gavaghancommunications.com/sppwhitby.html. Accessed 26 September 2012.
- 13.Gooday, G. 2010. The challenges of teaching history & philosophy of science, technology & medicine to ‘science’ students. The Higher Education Academy, Subject Centre for Philosophical & Religious Studies. http://prs.heacademy.ac.uk/hps/hsresource.html. Accessed 26 September 2012.
- 15.Arts & Humanities Research Council. Knowledge Transfer Strategy 2008–2011. http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/news-and-events/publications/documents/knowledge-transfer-strategy-2008-2011.pdf. Accessed 26 September 2012.
- 17.Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering, and US Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. 2009. On being a scientist: A guide to responsible conduct in research, 3rd ed. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- 18.Lewis, David I. 2011. Enhancing student employability through Ethics-based outreach activities and open educational resources. Bioscience Education 18(7SE). http://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol18/. Accessed 15 October 2012.
- 19.University of Manchester. Interdisciplinary Network on Teaching of Ethics for Neuroscientists. Workshop 2: The ideal state of ethics education for neuroscientists in 2015. September, 2012. http://lab.ls.manchester.ac.uk/neuroethicseducation/. Accessed 26 September 2012.
- 20.University of Bradford. Dual-Use Bioethics. http://dual-usebioethics.net. Accessed 26 September 2012.