AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition: Moving Forward

Date: July 14-15, 2014

Since the launch of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition in 2009, this growing network of science and engineering associations has collaborated to build bridges between science and technology organizations and the human rights community. The Coalition has created new human rights resources for science and engineering associations, tools for human rights organizations that seek to incorporate science and technology in their work, increased awareness of the opportunities for scientists and engineers to contribute to human rights, and advanced international discussions regarding the significance of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, as guaranteed in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Coalition’s fifth anniversary provides an opportune moment to celebrate our progress and share the network’s accomplishments. At this time of reflection, it is also fitting to look toward the next five years, identify emerging challenges, and map out the Coalition’s next steps. Thus, to mark the anniversary, this meeting is organized around the connections between science and human rights that guide the Coalition’s working groups.

What Evidence is Essential for New Medical Products? Implications for Patients and Health Policy

Date: June 13, 2014

Better implementation of evidence-based medicine can improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care in the U.S. This can be challenging in evaluating newly approved drugs and medical devices.  While current law requires that medical products be proven safe and effective, there is growing pressure to expedite access to promising therapies and to lessen the research and regulatory requirements for manufacturers. Unmet medical needs and patient demands call for a flexible approach to prescription drug and device regulation, but truncated premarket review may also lead to approval of products that are less  effective than expected or have unanticipated safety problems. This groundbreaking conference will review the growing body of research on the medical and public health implications of medical product approval criteria, and examine these findings in the context of patient outcomes, costs, and health policy.

Educating Scientists in Research Ethics for the 21st Century 

Date: June 8-11, 2014

This is a trainer-of-trainers workshop. Leaders in the field of research ethics and education will provide attendees with information, strategies, and extensive curricular resources to help them offer training in research ethics at their institutions or within their professional societies. Workshop participants will learn interactive approaches for providing instruction that will engage and stimulate their audience. A variety of sessions will allow both novice and experienced instructors in research ethics to benefit.

AAAS Science & Human Rights Coalition: 2014 Student Essay Competition

Deadline: May 30, 2014

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Essay Competition. This essay competition was created to inspire students to explore connections between human rights and science, engineering and the health professions. Students may write on any topic at the intersection of science and/or technology with human rights.

Smells Delicious and Good to Eat: How Your Brain Distinguishes Tastes and Aromas

Date: May 6, 2014

We all like to eat, especially our favorite dishes. And we all like pleasant aromas, such as freshly picked flowers. Why is it that some foods taste better than others, and why do different people like or dislike different foods? How does it happen that certain aromas appeal to us, while others make us hold our noses? And how do taste and aroma interact with each other? Neuroscientists are leading the way in finding answers to those questions, and others are using knowledge gained from science to satisfy the human palate and sense of smell. Speakers include a neuroscientist from the Monell Institute, and experts in wine, food, and fragrance. We will learn how sommeliers choose and evaluate wines, how chefs create menus, and perfumers and others create fragrances that are appealing.Following the program, enjoy a special tasting reception and an interactive demonstration with perfumes to experience what you learned about taste and aroma.

Wake Up, I'm Speaking: The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreaming 

Date: March 11, 2014

It seems that everybody, from comedians, to poets, to world leaders, have something to say about sleep. So why not scientists? Sleep, or the lack of it, is the focus of considerable research in the United States, where sleep disorders and sleep deprivation have been associated with poor cognitive performance, behavioral problems, accidents, ill health and other factors that adversely affect quality of life. When we do sleep, we also dream; in fact, during a typical lifetime, people spend an average of six years dreaming. In the past, dreams have been interpreted as omens of the future, representations of reality, and even divine messages from the gods. Nowadays, we tend to have slightly more rational views about dreams, but their significance and meaning remain a subject of debate in both science and public discourse. Speakers addressed what neuroscience research tells us about sleep, sleep disorders, the mechanisms and functions of dreaming, and the impact of sleep research on medicine and society.

Workshop on Responsible Professional Practices in a Changing Research Environment 

Date: February 13, 2014

The workshop was designed to assist research faculty in creating concrete, discipline-specific strategies to incorporate research ethics education into the context of the research environment, whether it be a lab or field work. The workshop was grounded in a recognition that many research ethics issues are relevant to the practice and application of science, from developing hypotheses and designing a protocol, to data management and analysis, to reporting findings and advising others on the uses of the work, and that integrating ethics instruction in the context of performing those various stages of research can be an effective strategy for educating future researchers. Participants will be introduced to rationales, content, approaches, tools, and resources to give them the means to develop and implement research ethics education in their research environment.

AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition: Disability Rights 

Date: January 27-28, 2014

The first day of the Coalition meeting provided participants an opportunity to deepen their knowledge about the ways in which the human rights of persons with disabilities intersect with science and engineering. Sessions addressed how access to science and technology can affect the rights of people with disabilities, both positively and negatively, and will explore challenges to fulfilling the right to participate in science and engineering as students, practitioners and as the subjects of research. The first annual student poster competition was also held during the meeting.