Who controls science and technology?

SGR produces a range of resources on the issue of 'Who controls science and technology?' This includes the power of vested interests (especially the military and private corporations), openness and democracy in science, and public engagement and participation. Two of our main projects focus on military influence on science and technology, and corporate influence on science and technology.

8 results

The detrimental effects of commercial influence on science and technology

SGR report by Chris Langley and Stuart Parkinson; October 2009

It is no secret that links between the commercial sectors and science and technology are increasing. Many policy-makers, business leaders and members of the science community argue that this is positive for both science and society. But there is growing evidence that the science commercialisation agenda brings with it a wide range of detrimental effects, including bias, conflicts of interest, a narrowing of the research agenda, and misrepresentation of research results. This report takes an in-depth look at the evidence for these effects across five sectors: pharmaceuticals; tobacco; military/defence; oil and gas; and biotechnology. Its findings make disturbing reading for all concerned about the positive role of science and technology in our society.
 

Military influence, commercial pressures and the compromised university

SGR briefing by Chris Langley, Stuart Parkinson and Philip Webber; June 2008

This briefing builds upon the disclosures of, and recommendations provided in, Soldiers in the Laboratory and More Soldiers in the Laboratory and focuses on the impact of military sector influence within the research and teaching environment of universities in the UK.
 

The militarisation of science and technology - an update

SGR briefing by Chris Langley, Stuart and Philip Webber; August 2007

This briefing provides an update to Soldiers In The Laboratory. In addition to SGR's latest findings about the power and influence of the military in science, engineering and technology (SET) in the UK and elsewhere since the previous report was written, this briefing also highlights some of the problems encountered in obtaining detailed information on military involvement in R&D despite the entry into force of the Freedom of Information Act. The report also documents the huge imbalance between government R&D funding of the military and funding to tackle ill-health, environmental degradation and poverty, and argues that a major shift in resources towards supporting social justice and environmental protection and away from the military is needed.
 

12 inspiring cases of ethical careers in science and technology

SGR ethical careers booklet edited by Stuart Parkinson and Vanessa Spedding; April 2006

12 scientists and engineers tell of their experiences in trying to follow an ethical career. The cases cover a wide range of issues relating to the environment, social justice, the military, and animal welfare.
 

SGR ethical careers briefing by Stuart Parkinson; January 2006

Corporations have become one of the most powerful influences within science and technology in recent years. This has thrown up many ethical concerns, not least the issue of whether their involvement has a distorting influence on the direction of research and development. This briefing outlines the key ethical issues in this area, and discusses how these affect career choice for scientists and engineers. It gives tips on spotting ethical corporations and looks at alternative career options in the public and non-profit sectors.
 

SGR ethical careers briefing by Chris Langley; January 2006

This briefing discusses military involvement with science and engineering, and how it can affect career choice in these fields. It outlines how the UK’s position as a major military power influences research, teaching, and development and deployment of new technologies, and discusses the related ethical issues. The briefing also gives tips on avoiding military work and describes opportunities in a range of alternative fields such as peace-building, disarmament, and cleaner energy technologies.
 

Military involvement in science and technology - and some alternatives

SGR report - written by Chris Langley; edited by Stuart Parkinson and Philip Webber; 19 January 2005

The UK’s involvement in the ‘War on terror’, especially the use of military force in Iraq, has been one of the most hotly contested issues in recent years. Meanwhile public confidence in science has been hit hard by controversies from GM crops to the MMR vaccine. This report investigates where military and scientific endeavours have intertwined—revealing the extent of the power and influence that the military has within UK science and engineering. The report describes how this influence has developed since the end of the Cold War, and examines whether the current level of military involvement in science and technology is the best way of contributing to the goals of peace, social justice and environmental sustainability.
 

This booklet takes an initial look at issues such as genetics, climate change, arms, militarisation of space, animal experiments, cleaner technology, information technology, and science funding. In addition, it describes the experiences of working scientists and how they have dealt with many of these issues. Contributors include Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat, inventor of the World-Wide-Web Dr Tim Berners-Lee and the well-known commentator on biotechnology issues Dr Mae Wan Ho.

SGR ethical careers booklet, edited by Stuart Parkinson and Vanessa Spedding; summer 2001