The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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The Royal Irish Academy host the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics

24 September 2018

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, was founded in 1994 and currently brings together almost 60 Academies in more than 40 countries from the Council of Europe region.

The working group was held in Dublin 18-19th September 2018.

ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics

The ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics (PWGSE) is concerned with a wide range of issues, both ‘internal’ (within the scientific community) and ‘external’ (relations between science and society). Since ethical considerations have been an essential component in the consolidation of a united Europe, and also in the creation of ALLEA, the PWGSE has been extending its capacities and activities during recent years, in order to fulfil adequately its mission of collective deliberation on topics like those listed below. 

The PWGSE meets at least twice a year and also convenes thematic meetings in wider settings, typically in partnerships with other relevant organizations such as European Science Foundation (ESF), the European Commission, the Council of Europe, Pugwash, International Council for Science (ICSU), or UNESCO. Some of the issues recently addressed include: scientific integrity and research misconduct, research on human embryos, quantitative evaluation of research, ethical aspects of risk, education in ethics. 

On Wednesday 19th September 2018 the PWGSE was in Dublin to discuss research ethics. The Royal Irish Academy was delighted to host the group in Academy House, with Dr Maura Hiney of the Health Research Board being the Academy’s representative. Preceding the meeting in Academy House, the Royal Irish Academy, led by Prof Peter McHugh MRIA, Policy and International Relations Secretary, welcomed the PWGSE to Dublin over dinner in the capital on Tuesday 18th September. It was a very enjoyable two days for all involved, and the Royal Irish Academy looks forward to seeing the future work done by the PWGSE on science and ethics. 

Members of the Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics 


  • Göran Hermerén (Chair) – Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities 
  • Anna Benaki – Academy of Athens (Greece) 
  • Anne Fagot-Largeault – Académie des Sciences (France) 
  • László Fésüs – Hungarian Academy of Sciences 
  • Maura Hiney – Royal Irish Academy 
  • Bertil Emrah Oder – The Science Academy (Turkey) 
  • Deborah Oughton – Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters 
  • Roger Pfister – The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences 
  • Pere Puigdomenech – Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (Spain) 
  • Zbigniew Szawarski – Polish Academy of Sciences 
  • Els Van Damme – Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts of Belgium 
  • Martin van Hees – Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences 
  • Krista Varantola – Council of Finnish Academies 
  • Raivo Uibo – Estonian Academy of Sciences 

Current and past topics 


  • Research Integrity 
  • Plagiarism 
  • Ethics Education as part of research training 
  • Ethics of scientific policy advice 
  • Emerging issues: synthetic biology, nanotechnology, robotics a.o. 
  • Role of Ethics Committees 
  • Support for Higher Education and research in Palestine 
  • Science and Human Rights 
  • Trust in science 

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