5th Meeting of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research

11 to 13 April 2018

European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, Brussels

“SCIENCE FOR DEMOCRACY: towards the human right to science”

Wednesday, 11 April - Room A5E-2

14:00 – 17:00:“Scientific method and liberal-democracy”

1st Day webcast – WATCH HERE

Political issues on the top of the agenda: public health, artificial intelligence, migration, global warming, need policies based on facts that should be evaluated upon results. Politicians should engage scientist and patients, while scientists should interact with society and decision-makers.

Chair: Marco CAPPATO, Treasurer, ALC, former MEP


Committees on employment and social affairs and security; member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and of Italy’s Democratic Party, he has been the chair of European affairs for the Young Democrats and Vice-President of ECOSY (youth organisation of PES) for years.


Michele DE LUCA, Center for Regenerative Medicine University of Modena, co-President ALC

Researcher in the field of epithelial stem cells, is director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine “Stefano Ferrari” of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Among his major scientific discoveries, last in order of time, the reconstruction of the skin of a “Butterfly baby” by combining stem cells and gene therapy. 


Mikel MANCISIDOR, vice-Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “The Human Right to Science in the International Law of Human Rights and in the UN

Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Director of the UNESCO Center in the Basque country from 2004 to 2014. Adjunct professor at American University in Washington DC, and visiting professor at the University of Deusto.


Giulia DEL BRENNA, Deputy Head of Cabinet, on behalf of EU Commissioner Carlos MOEDAS, Research, Science and Innovation

Deputy Head, Cabinet of EU Commissioner Moedas for Research, Science and Innovation. Official of the Commission since 1996. She has been Assistant to the Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry, Head of the Pharmaceutical, Food and Biotechnology industries Unit, and Advisor for Administration and Public Health issues in the Task Force for Greece.


Tracey BROWN, Director, Sense about Science

Director of Sense about Science since 2002. In 2010, the Times named Tracey as one of the 10 most influential figures in science policy in Britain, in 2014 she was recognised by the Science Council for her work on evidence-based policy making. In June 2017 Tracey was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire), for services to science.


Jessica WYNDHAM, Director, AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, “Right to Science

Director of the Program for Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which aims to promote and facilitate the responsible practice and science at the service of society. Previously she was a university professor and legal adviser of Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights.


Deborah LIPSTADT, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, Georgia, “Holocaust Denial: A prototype for scientific denialism

Professor of Modern History of Judaism and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Georgia. Former adviser to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, her activity as a historic focuses mainly on the Holocaust.


Walt ORENSTEIN, former director of the United States National Immunization Program, “The impact of anti-vaccine movements on personal and public health”

Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Global Health and Principal Investigator of The Influenza Pathogenesis & Immunology Research Center (IPIRC), one of five national Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance funded by NIH/NIAID. Dr. Orenstein is a consultant with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a primary focus on designing and monitoring research projects to assure polio is eradicated and that eradication is maintained.


Guido SILVESTRI,  Chief of the Division of Microbiology & Immunology at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Professor, “AIDS denialism: the pseudoscience that kills

Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Comparative Pathology, and Professor and Vice-Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, where he serves as Chair of the Division of Microbiology & Immunology at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Member of the Luca Coscioni Association.


Carl HART, Columbia University, “Science and politics”:

Chair of the Department of Psychology and the Dirk Ziff Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University. His research seeks to understand complex interactions between drugs of abuse and the neurobiology and environmental factors that mediate human behavior and physiology.

Thursday, 12 April - Room A5E-2

Introduction: Filomena GALLO, Secretary, ALC; Marco GENTILI, Co-President, ALC

9:00 to 12.00: “Human genome editing, embryos and regenerative medicine: Better understanding for Better regulation”

Chair: Stephen MINGER, Director, SLM Blue Skies; Marisa JACONI, Geneva University

Andrea BOGGIO, Bryant University, Board ALC, “Research with Embryos“:

Associate Professor of Legal Studies at Bryant University, Rhode Island, USA. His research focuses on the legal and ethical issues connected to health, science, and technology and on the relationship between law, capitalism, and the welfare state. Board Member of the Luca Coscioni Association.


Cesare P.R. ROMANO, Loyola Law School, Board ALC:

Professor of Law and W. Joseph Ford Fellow at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. His main fields of activity is international courts and tribunals, and international human rights. Board Member of the Luca Coscioni Association.


Toni CATHOMEN, director Medical Center – University of Freiburg, “Therapeutic Genome Editing with CRISPR-Cas and other programmable gene scissors

Professor and Director, Institute for Cell and Gene Therapy, University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany. His main research interests are the improvement of genome editing tools (TALENs, CRISPR-Cas9) for safe application in human stem cells, the development of disease models and cell therapies based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and the translations gene editing for the treatment of HIV and primary immunodeficiencies into the clinic.


Giovanni BUTTARELLI, European Data Protection Supervisor, “Fifth World Congress for Freedom of Scientific research – Speech

Before joining the European Data Protection Authority, he was Secretary General at the Italian Data Protection Authority from 1997-2009. As a Cassation judge in the Italian judiciary, he has long been involved in many initiatives and committees on data protection and related issues at international level.


Malin PARMAR, Lund University, “Stem cell based therapies for Parkinson’s Disease”

Professor at Lund University, Sweden, she is focusing her work on bringing new cell-based therapies for Parkinson’s disease to the clinic by replacing lost dopamine neurons with new healthy cells. Her work in cellular reprogramming opens up the possibilities of personalized treatments of patients with healthy versions of their own cells.


Pete COFFEY, UCL, London:

Director of the London Project to Cure Blindness. His work explores this approach with the object of finding the best conditions for transplantation, identifying events that might compromise transplant efficacy and finding solutions to their deleterious effects, and specifically an assessment of how much visual improvement might be expected from this approach.


Giulio COSSU, Manchester University

Professor of Human Stem Cell Biology at Manchester University, he has a long lasting interest in the field of muscle cell and developmental biology. He discovered the myogenic potential of a bone-marrow derived, circulating progenitor cell, he also identified a novel population of vessel associated stem cell, the mesoangioblasts that proved effective in the treatment of a mouse and dog models of muscular dystrophy. Member of the Luca Coscioni Association.


Beatriz BECERRA, MEP, ALDE, Spain:

Member of the European Parliament, member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.


Emma BONINO, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italy:

Senator, former MP and MEP and Minister of Foreign Affairs. She is a leading member of the Italian Radicals and a founder of the NGO No Peace Without Justice. She has held several positions within international organizations.


Mirella PARACHINI, Gynecologist, Board ALC

Medical Director in the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department at the San Filippo Neri Hospital of Rome. She has participated in Italy’s Women’s Liberation Movement (MLD) active to legalize divorce and abortion. She one of the founders of the Luca Coscioni Association.


Rebecca GOMPERTS, MD, MPP, PhD Founder and director Women on Waves, “Can abortion research change the law?“:

Doctor, founder and Director of Women on Waves and Women on Web. After graduating she became an abortion doctor and sailed with the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior. While sailing to South America she encountered many women who suffered greatly due to lack of access to reproductive health services and safe, legal abortions.

Thursday, 12 April - Room A3G2

14:00 – 17:30: “Modern agricultural biotechnology calling”

Chair: John BRENNAN, Executive Director, EuropaBio; MEP (tbc); Marco PERDUCA, Board ALC, former Senator

14:00 Welcome, Key Note Speech: “Challenges in evaluating risks in food

Vytenis ANDRIUKAITIS, European Commissioner for Health and for Food Safety, “Food risks, science and public opinion

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety is a Cardiologist. Former member of the Lithuanian Parliament, was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health of Lithuania. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania since its reconstitution, in the early nineties


14:30 “State of play of genome editing and modern agri-biotech”What is genome editing, and why use it in agriculture? What do the scientific institutions say about risks and opportunities, and which steps towards legal certainty?

Janusz BUJNICKI, Professor, Member of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism, “New Techniques in Agricultural Biotechnology

Professor of Biology, and head of a research group at IIMCB in Warsaw and at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. His research combines bioinformatics, structural biology and synthetic biology. His achievements include the development of methods for computational modeling of protein and RNA 3D structures, discovery and characterization of enzymes involved in RNA metabolism, and engineering of proteins with new functions.

Joachim SCHIEMANN, Professor, on behalf of the European Academies of Science Advisory Council (EASAC), “Genome editing: scientific opportunities, public interests and policy options in the European Union

Director of the Institute for Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology at the Julius Kuehn Institute in Germany. He coordinates the EU-funded project GRACE (GMO Risk Assessment and Communication of Evidence).

15:00 “The CRISPR era”

Genome editing techniques like CRISPR are opening up new possibilities in many fields including plant breeding. When will and should the innovation reach farmers and consumers?

Rene CUSTERS, VIB – Flemish Institute of Biotechnology, “Precision Breeding

Regulatory & Responsible Research Manager at the Institute for biotechnology in Flanders, Belgium, he is also part of the Co-Extra work group, coordinating the dialogue with stakeholders from seven countries.


Paul TEMPLE, UK Farmer:

Tenant farmer in a family partnership that runs a 312 hectare farm in Driffield, East Yorkshire. He is a former NFU vice-president and former chairman of COPA/COGECA cereals, oilseeds and proteins group in Brussels. Founder of the European Biotech Forum, he was an AHDB cereals and oilseeds sector board member from 2013 to 2015 and currently sits on the National Non Food Crops Centre Board.


Nora ALONSO, CEO of Iden Biotechnology:

President and Managing Director at Iden Biotechnology, she has more than 10 years of Executive, Management and Business Development experience in the agrobiotech sector. She is the co-founder of Iden Biotechnology.


Arnaud SCHWARTZ, France Nature Environment, “New GMOs are nothing more than GMOs made with new genetic modification techniques“:

National Secretary of France Environment, he is also a member of the European Economic and Social Committee, representing the transalpine country.


16:15 “Innovation, precaution and democracy: A right to science?”

Scientific evidence is one factor in EU decision making, but there are ‘other legitimate factors’. Should a democracy stop unpopular innovation?

Chair: Roberto DEFEZ, National Council of Research, Italy

Andrea BOGGIO, Bryant University, Board ALC


Dirk HUDIG, Secretary General, European Risk Forum

Secretary general of the European Risk Forum. Former president of the British Chamber of Commerce, has partnered with the OCSE for which he directed the BIAC Environment Committee. He was also secretary general of the Union of industrial and employers confederations of Europe.


David ZARUK, The risk monger, “Case Study: “Natural Nathalie”“:

Adjunct professor at Université Saint-Louis Brussel and KUL Brussel (Odisee), where he lectures on Risk Communications, EU Lobbying, Corporate Communications and PR. Active in public affairs on chemical issues since 1995 at Solvay, Cefic & Burson-Marsteller. He has served as expert adviser on risk policy communications to several EU bodies.


José Miguel MULET, Author, Professor of Biotechnology, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia

Scientist active in the field of chemistry and molecular biology. Biotechnology teacher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, he is also part of the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cell Biology, science communicator. In 2015, he won the Tesla Award for communication.

Friday, 13 April - Room A3G2

9:00 to 11.30: “Research on psychotropic substances: knowledge vs prohibition = treatment“

Chair: Tania RE, UNESCO Chair, Genoa; Marco TRAUB, CEO of Tesct, Bern, Switzerland

Rick DOBLIN, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, “Scientific Freedom for Psychedelic and Marijuana Research”

Degree in psychology at the New College of Florida and a doctorate in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is the founder of MAPS – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.


Tomas PÁLENÍČEK, MD, PhD, National Institute of Mental Health, Czech Republic

Researcher and psychiatrist, since 2001, at the National Institute of Mental Health Czech Republic. His research fields concern in particular MDMA, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin and 2C-B with studies on the neurobiology of psychedelic drugs, entactogens and new light drugs. He is also involved in the study the acute effects of cannabis on healthy volunteers as well as in the effects of psilocybin on human volunteers.


Raphael MECHOULAMHebrew University of Jerusalem | HUJI · Institute for Drug Research:

Biologist and chemist, was professor of chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is best known for his work (together with Y. Gaoni) in the isolation, structure elucidation and total synthesis of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active principle of cannabis and for the isolation and the identification of the endogenous cannabinoids anandamidefrom the brain and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) from peripheral organs together with his students, postdocs and collaborators.


Ben SESSAPsychiatrist, co-founder of the Breaking Convention, “Psychedelics, MDMA, Trauma and Addictions: Bold Steps Forward for the Future of Psychiatry”

Psychiatrist and researcher in the field of psychopharmacology with psychedelic drugs. The scope of his studies is the research for a treatment for mental disorders with MDMA. He is also co-founder of  the Breaking Convention.


Carl HART, Chair of the Department of Psychology, Columbia University, “Bias against marijuana


Amanda FEILDING, Beckley Foundation, London, “Why Science Needs Psychedelics: A Paradigm Shift for Psychiatry

Drug policy reformer, in 1998 she founded the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust that promotes a rational, evidence-based approach to global drug policies. The central aim of her research is to investigate new avenues of treatment for such mental illnesses as depression, anxiety and addiction, as well as to explore methods of enhancing well-being and creativity.


11.30 to 13:00: “Conclusions: initiatives for the right to science”

Chair: Marco CAPPATO and Marco PERDUCA

Gilberto CORBELLINI, National Council of Research, Italy, “Scientific research, yesterday, today and tomorrow”

Director of the Department of Social and Human Sciences, cultural heritage of the National Research Council. Former member of the National Bioethics Committee and co President of Luca Coscioni Association, he is Professor of  History of Medicine and Bioethics at the University La Sapienza of Rome. He directed the magazine “Darwin” and is a member of Luca Coscioni Association.


Sandro GOZI, Under-Secretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy

Member of the Italian Democratic Party. He has been member of the Italian Parliament during the XV, XVI and XVII terms. Member of the Luca Coscioni Association.


Benedetto DELLA VEDOVA, Under-secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Italy:

Leader of Forza Europa since 2017, his a former MP and MEP and a member of the Luca Coscioni Association.


Contribution of Romano SCOZZAFAVA, board member of ALC