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Stakeholder meeting about public attitudes to stem cell research

Medical Research Council website

5 July 2007

The UK’s two major public funders of stem cell research have today convened a stakeholder meeting ahead of the start of a national public discussion about this cutting-edge area of science. The public dialogue programme is due to start in the autumn and aims to gain an insight into public attitudes towards stem cell research.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) have called the stakeholder meeting to ensure that all interested parties have the opportunity to express their views about the areas and topics the dialogue programme will cover.

BBSRC Head of Public Engagement, Dr Maggie Leggett, said “The stem cell public dialogue programme will be one of the largest activities of its type ever conducted in the UK. It will give funders and researchers the opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue with the public about the direction of stem cell research and the realistic applications we can expect.”

MRC Head of Communications Jane Gizbert said “The stakeholder meeting today gives every major organisation with an interest in stem cell research and public engagement in science the opportunity to influence the direction and scope of the dialogue programme.”

The stakeholder meeting is being held today in Central London.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The public dialogue programme will be officially launched in autumn 2007. It is supported by a grant from Sciencewise. Sciencewise is funded by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills.

BBSRC funds fundamental bioscience research, including work to understand the basic biology of stem cells. The MRC supports the full spectrum of biomedical research, including stem cell science. The MRC currently funds more than 100 stem cell research programmes, fellowships and studentships in the UK, as well as two units and three research centres. They also support the UK Stem Cell Bank.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

About MRC

The Medical Research Council is dedicated to improving human health through excellent science. It invests on behalf of the UK taxpayer. Its work ranges from molecular level science to public health research, carried out in universities, hospitals and a network of its own units and institutes. The MRC liaises with the Health Departments, the National Health Service and industry to take account of the public's needs. The results have led to some of the most significant discoveries in medical science and benefited the health and wealth of millions of people in the UK and around the world. http://www.mrc.ac.uk

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