by Eleni A. Kyza, Yiannis Georgiou, Andria Agesilaou, & Andreas Hadjichambis (Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus)
During the 2nd round of the PARRISE Cyprus TPD programme, an effort was made to engage teachers with practicing scientists and stakeholders. As part of this effort, during the 3rd face-to-face meeting of the PARRISE teachers, we organized a public event entitled “The ethical and scientific dimensions of contemporary socio-scientific issues”.
The event took place at the Cyprus University of Technology, on December 17, 2016, from 8:30-13:30. It was attended by 45 participants; the audience included PARRISE Cyprus teachers and other stakeholders (e.g. academics, non-PARRISE teachers, university students, etc.) who were interested to find out more about the topic of the event. During the event, a panel consisting of a nephrologist (Dr. Loucas Damianou), a chemist from the Department of Labour Inspection (Dr. Tasoula Kyprianidou-Leontidou), and the President of the National Committee on Environment and Children’s Health (Dr. Stella Kanna-Michaelidou) gave presentations. Each speaker was invited to discuss the ethical and scientific dimensions of the contemporary socio-scientific issues of his or her own scientific field.
The event started with a welcoming note from Dr. Eleni A. Kyza, scientific coordinator of the PARRISE Cyprus effort, who briefly explained the PARRISE project to the participants. Subsequently, each invited speaker delivered a fifteen-minute presentation. Dr. Kanna-Michaelidou spoke about the ethical dilemmas in the management of wireless communications, such as mobile phones and wi-fi. Dr. Kyprianidou-Leontidou discussed the use of nano-materials in our lives. Finally, Dr. Damianou explained the debate and ethics of human organ transplantations. Each presentation was followed by a fifteen minute discussion, during which the audience had the opportunity to pose questions, and ask for further information or clarifications.
The event continued with a panel discussion, which was coordinated by Dr. Eleni A. Kyza. During the panel discussion the invited speakers were asked to discuss (a) the main controversies which arise with the scientific and technological development in their field, and (b) provide their opinion on whether it is possible for citizens to meaningfully participate in decision making relating to these controversial socio-scientific issues. The audience had more opportunities to interact with the invited speakers by asking additional questions. The event concluded with a clear message towards the PARRISE science teachers: the need to develop active citizens equipped with critical thinking, able to participate in democratic decision-making on contemporary socio-scientific issues.