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CAST and AAAS Announce Joint Steering Committee on Ethics in Science

Building on three years of top-level discussions, the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and AAAS have established a joint Steering Committee to coordinate work on ethics in science by the two organizations.

In a statement, CAST and AAAS said the steering committee will encourage collaborations between policymakers, scientists, educators, and students that “can be used in both countries to advance and apply knowledge on ethical issues associated with the conduct and application of scientific research.”

“It is expected that the establishment of this committee will help build up a new platform for Chinese and U.S. scientists to conduct in-depth dialogue on ethics in science and contribute to the advancement of science,” said Mme Deng Nan, executive vice president and chief executive secretary of CAST.

“This collaboration will not only benefit the scientific communities in the U.S. and China,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Alan I. Leshner, “but the shared knowledge gained from it can be extremely useful to many other countries dealing with ethics issues within their own societal contexts.”

The joint Steering Committee is the latest engagement in the deepening relationship between the science and engineering communities in China and the United States. In September 2007, Leshner and a AAAS-organized delegation traveled to Beijing to participate in a CAST workshop on scientists’ ethical and social responsibilities. In other meetings at the two-day conference, AAAS and Chinese science and engineering leaders agreed to joint publishing and education projects.

In April 2009, the two organizations organized a three-day conference in San Diego, California, to plan further joint projects in ethics education. Scholars and educators from the two countries discussed the possibility of creating new surveys on misconduct; exchanges on training ethics educators; a collection of case studies; and a practical guidebook on ethics in science.

The members of the joint steering committee include:


  • Yang Wei, member of the Committee on Scientists’ Ethics and Rights (CSER) under the Standing Committee of the 7th National Committee of CAST, president of Zhejiang University;
  • Gong Ke, member of the Standing Committee of the 7th National Committee and CSER, CAST, president of Tianjin University;
  • Yan Chunhua, member of CSER and CAST, and director of the State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Materials Chemistry and Applications, Peking University; and
  • Sun Mengxin, deputy director general, Department of International Affairs, CAST.


  • Mark S. Frankel, director, AAAS Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law Program and committee liaison officer;
  • Elizabeth Heitman, associate professor, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University;
  • Michael Kalichman, director, University of California-San Diego Research Ethics Program; and
  • Philip Langlais, vice provost for Graduate Studies and Research, Old Dominion University.

Read the AAAS-CAST Steering Committee on Ethics in Science Joint Statement. [English or Mandarin]


Learn more about the China Association for Science and Technology.

Learn more about the AAAS Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law Program.

Learn more about the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy.

See photos from the 2007 bilateral meetings and the Workshop on Scientists’ Social and Ethical Responsibilities in Beijing.