Major revision
February 2011
Last amendment
September 2011
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SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY

Objectives

ST100 The basic aim of our Science and Technology policy is to encourage and promote research, development and application of science and technology which will:

1.Increase knowledge and understanding.

2.Help to understand and address the major environmental threats such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity losses.

3.Contribute to a better quality of life for all the inhabitants of the world.

Science

Principles

ST200 We believe that people are naturally curious about the world, and enjoy extending their knowledge by scientific study. This research is a worthwhile activity in its own right. Scientific study must not be restricted to that which is deemed likely to result in narrow short term economic benefit.

ST201 Science and technology have made enormous contributions to our civilisation and wellbeing. However, irresponsible use of science and technology have undoubtedly resulted in problems for society, We recognise that when used responsibly science and technology have great potential to be part of the solution to many problems, including environmental ones, However, we recognize that that there are very unlikely to be any technological ‘quick fixes’ and that science needs to be part of a coordinated response alongside political and economic solutions.

Policies

ST210 Scientific research requires proper funding. We value basic research and will ensure it is properly funded. We believe that it is important to have a wide body of research that is not funded or controlled by large corporations.

ST211 We will increase public spending on R&D to at least 1% of GDP.

ST212 We will ensure funding streams are long-term and ensure sufficient revenue streams are available for the maintenance and operation of all capital investments. We will separate subscriptions for international projects from budgets for research grants and pay those subscriptions directly.

ST213 We will follow the Haldane principle that the Government may guide overall strategic direction, but research councils decide which projects are to be funded

Ethics

ST220 Research councils will be provided with a set of ethical criteria which are required to be met in order that research be funded with public money. These criteria will be developed through broad consultation and will include consideration of human and animal welfare, the protection of the environment and the effects on local and global society.

ST221 All publically funded research, including clinical trials, must publish its results, even if the results obtained were inconclusive or negative.

ST222 The results of all research performed at universities, but funded privately, should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

ST223 We support the Budapest Open Access Initiative and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access, and will strongly encourage results from publicly funded research to be published in Open Access journals where appropriate. Subsidies will be given towards any extra publishing costs.

Military

ST230 Military ("defence") research into science and technology has traditionally formed a substantial proportion of projects funded by the Government. The Green Party would reduce this to a low level sufficient to sustain the country's defensive conventional forces (see PD400s). Research resources no longer required for the military would be converted to civilian.

Ecology

ST240 Fundamental and applied research into the environment and the ecology of the biosphere and threatened habitats will attract a high level of funding. Research infrastructure will be developed to facilitate the long term multi-disciplinary research necessary for increasing our understanding of the requirements of a sustainable society.

ST241 International collaboration in research will be increased and free movement of ideas, knowledge and researchers between countries will be maintained and facilitated. Research in the Antarctic will be restricted to its environment and ecology (see IP512).

Education and Careers

ST250 Science education should aim to intregrate science teaching with everyday life while still providing the building blocks for understanding basic science.

ST251 Non standard career structures will be encouraged, including movement between disciplines and entry and re-entry into research from other activities. Professional bodies must ensure they are fully representative of their members’ gender and ethnic background. If a profession or sector does not reflect the gender and ethnic make-up of the country the professional body must put in place a programme to ensure equal participation and a correction of any imbalance.

Scientific Advisors

ST260 We will ensure that scientific advisors work in an environment of academic freedom and are able to always make recommendations free of political interference.

ST270 We will ensure libel laws cannot be used to stifle scientific debate or academic freedom.

Technology

Background and Principles

ST300 We will support the development of technology that promises to benefit society and the planet, However we believe that technology must be regulated as outcomes may be malign. We do not believe that technological fixes alone will deal with the serious problems facing the planet.

Policies

Product Standards Commission

ST330 All industrial products should be well designed and well made to ensure longevity and optimum use of resources (see NR420s). Goods should be durable and designed with ease of repair or recycling as high priorities.

ST331 Technology should not be designed with inbuilt obsolescence. Software and hardware producers must work together to ensure that new developments do not render relatively new equipment obsolete.

ST332 Standards Commissions will be set up to assess product designs (see NR425). Design requirements should reflect the need for environmental protection and the need for durable goods to be repairable or recyclable.

ST333 The Standards Commissions would also promote the development and use of labelling and marking systems for materials used in products and packaging to facilitate recycling.

ST334 Taxation policy (see EC700s) will ensure that the prices of products will incorporate the real costs of the use of non-renewable resources, transport, any pollution caused and eventual safe disposal (e.g. recycling).

Patents on Genes and Living Organisms

ST360 The Green Party is opposed to the patenting of genes and living organisms for the following reasons:

1.Patents may make access to genetic resources more difficult and in some cases block that access altogether. Research and development can be hindered, and in many cases the resulting costs are disproportionately high. These problems are of particular relevance to health services and medical research, but their consequences can also be seen in agriculture and plant breeding.

2.Living organisms are not the same as human technical inventions and it is unethical to afford patent rights on them to an individual or company. (See also AG613, EC1015, IP353 ).

Genetic Engineering

ST361 The Green Party accepts that certain uses of genetic engineering may be benign and may lead to enhanced quality of life, but believes that the release of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) into the environment potentially poses substantial risks to biodiversity, human health and animal welfare and that there is currently insufficient research to quantify risks. In addition, genetic engineering of animals can cause significant suffering.

ST362 Control of research and the use of genetic engineering by a few multinational companies threatens the autonomy of farmers and health services and makes profit an underlying motive for the use of GMOs.

ST363 We believe that:

1. The precautionary principle must be applied to research using genetic engineering.

2. Research should be genuinely in the interests of humanity.

3. Animal welfare and biodiversity must be protected in research (See also AG623, AR408, AR412 ).

 

ST364 The Green Party supports a moratorium on the release of GMOs into the environment and on importation of food and feed containing GMOs, pending comprehensive assessment of the safety of GMOs with regards to the environment, biodiversity and human and animal health. We support a legally-binding protocol making industry liable for cross-contamination and any adverse effects of GMOs. (See also AG623-4, CC254, EU489, and FD208).

Aid and Development

ST370 Technological aid to the third world should be appropriate and should avoid exploitation and the generation of dependency. The validity of local knowledge and techniques should be acknowledged, and self-reliance encouraged (see IP222). We will enable benign technologies to be freely transferred to third world countries.

 

Science & Technology chapter previously updates:
Spring 2010: deleted ST252 pledge.
Spring 2001