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Stem Cell Network

Coordination of the Working Group on Ethical, Legal and Sociological Issues in the Stem Cell Network North Rhine Westphalia


  • Abstract:
    The Stem Cell Network was initiated by North Rhine Westpalia's Ministry of Science and Research in 2002. It includes academic institutions in various cities throughout the federal state, including Aachen, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Essen, Düsseldorf, Köln and Münster, thus covering the broad spectrum of aspects within the field of stem cell research. The network is composed of two working groups, one dealing with biomedical, the other with ethical, legal and sociological aspects of stem cell research. Leading medical and natural scientists, as well as jurists, philosophers, theologians and social scientists contribute their respective expertise to make stem cell research more responsible and transparent.

    The network acts as a model for North Rhine Westphalia's concept of initialising and fostering endeavours in ground-breaking fields of research in order to further science, economy and, above all, society as a whole.

    The working group on ethics, law and sociology is a body on equal footing with the working group on biomedicine. Its organisation and coordination is carried out at the IWE and supervised by Prof. Dr. Dieter Sturma. It deals with issues such as "Healing life with the help of life", "Beginning of life and legal protection", "Self-determination, ownership rights and patenting of biological material", that are put forward by the working group's steering committee. When other relevant topics arise, the working group can institute subgroups that may be complemented by external experts on a case-by-case basis.

    Distinguished scientists from Bonn, Düsseldorf, Köln and Münster are members of the steering Group. Next to their academic expertise with respect to questions of stem cell research, the practical qualifications of the board's members are of special importance. Two members are at the same time members of the Central Ethics Commission on Stem Cell Research at the Robert Koch Institute, thus participating in decision making processes regarding the import of stem cells pertaining to the German Stem Cell Act. Other members have long-time experience in clinical ethics committees or political advisory groups. Therefore it is assured that the biomedical research projects being undertaken within the biomedical working group are well counselled on ethical and legal matters.

  • Supervision:
    Prof. Dr. Dieter Sturma
    Institute of Science and Ethics, Bonn



  • Funding:
    German Federal Ministry of Science and Research NRW


  • Funding Period:
    August 2002 - December 2017


  • Participants:
    • Philosophische Ethik:
      • em. Prof. Dr. Dieter Birnbacher, Universität Düsseldorf
      • Prof. Dr. Frank Dietrich, Universität Düsseldorf
      • Dr. Michael Fuchs, Universität Bonn
      • Prof. Dr. Thomas Heinemann, Universität Bonn, Hochschule Vallendar
      • Prof. Dr. Bert Heinrichs, Universität Bonn
      • Prof. Dr. Dr. Ludger Honnefelder, Universität Bonn
      • Prof. Dr. Ludwig Siep, Universität Münster
    • Theologische Ethik:
      • Prof. Dr. Hartmut Kreß, Universität Bonn
      • Prof. Dr. Jochen Sautermeister, Universität Bonn
    • Rechtswissenschaften:
      • Prof. Dr. Matthias Herdegen, Universität Bonn
      • Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel, Universität Münster
      • PD Dr. Tade Spranger, Universität Bonn
    • Sozialwissenschaften:
      • Prof. Dr. Alfons Bora, Universität Bielefeld
      • Dr. Martina Franzen, Universität Bielefeld
      • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Willems, Universität Münster
      • Prof. Dr. Karl Wilhelm Lauterbach, Universität Köln
    • Medizin:
      • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen, Universität Köln


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