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to the 27 NEC Forum, 2021

Emerging challenges in the fields of science, technology and medicine are ever expanding, often in unexpected directions and offering the possibility of profound and lasting changes.

Ethics, as a partner of progress, takes on even greater relevance in areas that seem to require extraordinary prudence at a time when existential choices are to be made, with prolonged impact on individuals, families, societies and the environment.

From the onset, the NEC Forum experts have worked in tandem to generate knowledge that leads to practical wisdom, thinking about how such a platform can contribute to an intellectual, moral and civic ecology, favourable to inclusive and tolerant reflection.

The CNECV, as an independent body working in liaison with the Portuguese Assembly of the Republic, aims to strengthen this collective debate and help prepare the path to our common future.



The 27th Forum of the National Ethics and Bioethics Councils - NEC Forum was held on 19 and 20 May 2021. Here you can find the NEC Forum Summary and key messages.

More on the 27 NEC Forum and the NEC Forum platform

The National Ethics Committees (NEC) Forum is a network of all European national ethics and bioethics advisory bodies, as a platform for the exchange of information, experience and best practices on issues of common interest within the fields of ethics, science and new technologies. The NEC Forum meetings are hosted by the Member State holding the rotative Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The 27 NEC Forum was jointly organised by Conselho Nacional de Ética para as Ciências da Vida/The National Council of Ethics for the Life Sciences (CNECV) and the European Commission, within the framework of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The event took place from 19 to 20 May 2021 as a non-public fully virtual meeting. The two-day work program was focus on ethical issues of emerging technologies, such as AI and Robotics, social media platforms, environmental ethics and dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic moving forward. A presentation on “Ethics Reviews of Research Projects Outside the Field of Biomedical Research” closed our scientific program.

The NEC Forum engages prominent experts to reflect alongside Ethics Committees representatives, the European Group on Ethics for the New Technologies and the European Commission on ethical issues of global concern. National Councils from non-EU countries are also invited to attend the Forum meetings and share their experience.


19TH MAY 2021


Central European Summer Time (CEST)


14:00 – 14:15

Jorge SOARES | Chair of the National Council of Ethics for the Life Sciences, CNECV, Portugal

Patrick CHILD | Deputy Director-General in DG Research and Innovation (R&I) at the European Commission

Marcelo REBELO DE SOUSA | President of the Portuguese Republic (Video Message)



Chair | Paula MARTINHO DA SILVA | International Bioethics Committee (IBC) - UNESCO

14:20 – 14:40

The Future of Social Media: Re-humanisation and Regulation

Gerd LEONHARD | Keynote Speaker, Futurist & Humanist, Author, CEO The Futures Agency

14:40 – 15:00

Steffen STEINERT | Ethics and Philosophy of Technology section Technische Universiteit Delft

15:00 - 15:30



15:30 – 15:50

Julian KINDERLERER | Emeritus Professor of IP Law at the University of Cape Town, Visiting Professor at the School of Law of the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

15:50 – 16:20




Chair | Romuald KRAJEWSKI | Secretary of Appeal Bioethics Committee, National Cancer Institute, Poland

16:20 – 16:40

François HIRSCH | Inserm Ethics Committee, National Commission of Research Ethics Committees

16:40 – 17:00

Laurence LWOFF | Head Bioethics Unit, Secretary of the DH-BIO, Council of Europe

17:00 – 17:20

Grazia ZUFFA | Italian Committee for Bioethics

17:20 – 17:50



20TH MAY 2021


Central European Summer Time (CEST)



Chair | Alena BUYX | Chair of the German Ethics Council

10:00 – 10:20

Virginia DIGNUM | Umea University. WASP-HS (Humanities and Society)

10:20 – 10:40

Philip BREY | University of Twente

10:40 – 11:00

TaiWon OH | President of the Korea Society of Internet Ethics, Kyung-il University

11:00 – 11:20

Julia PRIEß-BUCHHEIT | Coburg University of Applied Sciences

11:20 – 11:50


11:50 – 13:00

Downtime (lunch)



Chair | Klaus Peter RIPPE | Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH)

13:00 – 13:20

Eva GELINSKY | Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH)

13:20 – 13:40

Environmental ethics and the question of inter-generation justice: Its origins and ethical foundation

Evangelos D. PROTOPAPADAKIS | School of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University in Athens; Hellenic National Commission for Bioethics & Technoethics

13:40 – 14:00

Deborah H. OUGHTON | World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)

14:00 – 14:30




14:30 – 14:50

Dirk LANZERATH | Secretary General of EUREC, Managing Director of the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE), University of Bonn, Germany

14:50 - 15:20

General discussion


15:20 – 15:40

Jorge SOARES | Chair of the National Council of Ethics for the Life Sciences, CNECV, Portugal

Isidoros KARATZAS | Head of the Research Ethics and Integrity Sector, DG RTD, European Commission

Marjeta TERČELJ | Vice Chair of the Commission of the Republic of Slovenia for Medical Ethics, University Clinical Centre Ljubljana


Marta Pereira da Costa, herself a civil engineer and researcher, is the world's only professional female fado guitar player, and she is quickly becoming an ambassador of Portugal's most iconic musical tradition.
We will listen to “Encontro” by Rogério Charraz e “Verdes Anos & Summertime” by Carlos Paredes and George Gershwin, interpreted by Marta Pereira da Costa on the Portuguese Guitar, António Pinto on Classical Guitar, Gonçalo Leonardo on the Double Bass, Alexandre Diniz on Piano and André Sousa Machado on Percurssion.
We hope you enjoy it.

welcome addresses

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

President of the Portuguese Republic

Jorge Soares

Chair of the National Council of Ethics for the Life Sciences, Portugal

Patrick Child

Deputy Director-General in DG Research and Innovation (R&I) at the European Commission

speakers and moderators

Paula Martinho da Silva

International Bioethics Committee (IBC) - UNESCO

Gerd Leonhard

Keynote Speaker, Futurist & Humanist, Author, CEO The Futures Agency

Steffen Steinert

Delft University of Technology, Ethics and Philosophy of Technology Section

Julian Kinderlerer

IP Law at the University of Cape Town, School of Law of the University of Kwazulu-Natal

Romuald Krajewski

Appeal Bioethics Committee, National Cancer Institute, Poland

François Hirsch

Member of the Inserm Ethics Committee

Laurence Lwoff

Bioethics Unit of the Council of Europe

Grazia Zuffa


Alena Buyxt

Chair of the German Ethics Council

Virginia Dignum

Professor of Responsible Artificial Intelligence at Umeå University, Sweden and associated with the TU Delft in the Netherlands

Philip Brey

Professor of philosophy and ethics of technology at the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, the Netherlands

Taiwon Oh

Professor of the department of police and administration at Kyungil University

Julia Prieß-Buchheit

Professor of Education and Didactics at the University of Applied Sciences Coburg, Germany

Klaus Peter Rippe

Chair of Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH)

Eva Gelinsky

Coordinator of the Initiative for GE-free Seeds an Breeding (IG Saatgut)

Evangelos D. Protopapadakis

Associate Professor of Applied Ethics

Deborah H. Oughton

Professor in Nuclear Chemistry/Environmental Chemistry

Dirk Lanzerath

Professor of Ethics and Research Ethics

Isidoros Karatzas

European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Marjeta Terčelj

Associate Prof. PhD, internist and pneumologist


Isidoros Karatzas

Head of the Research Ethics and Integrity Sector, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation
Isidoros Karatzas is a biochemist and psychologist by training. After joining the European Commission, he was responsible for the ex-post evaluation of the Framework Programme. Isidoros managed the risk governance research file and was the scientific secretary of the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB), a high-level body that advised the Commission on research policy and research priorities. Currently, he is the head of the Research Ethics and Integrity Sector in DG Research and Innovation. As head of the Sector, he established the Ethics Appraisal process for the research Framework Programmes, initiated advanced training courses on research ethics for Commission staff and the research community and has set up the first European system on ethics checks and follow-up. In addition, the sector oversees the research integrity policy activities, including the relations with relevant stakeholders such as ALLEA, LERU, Science Europe and the business community.

Jorge Soares

Chair of the National Council of Ethics for the Life Sciences, CNECV, Portugal
Member of DH-BIO of the Council of Europe

Former Vice-President, Ethics Council of the Champalimaud Foundation, Lisbon; Advisor to the Board of Trustees and Former Director of Innovation in Health Department, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Former Director of the Institute of Forensic Sciences, and Professor of Legal Medicine and Ethics; Professor of Pathology, NOVA Medical School and Lisbon Medical School (retired); Past President, Scientific Council for Health Sciences – Science & Technology Foundation (Portugal); Past President, Portuguese Society of Pathology, Senology and Medical Sciences; Member Emeritus of the Portuguese Academy of Medicine, Diploma Award of the European Society of Pathology, Portuguese Medical Association (gold medal), Ministry of Health (gold medal).

Edyta Sikorska

European Commission
DG Research & Innovation
RTD.03.001- Research Ethics and Integrity Sector

IEdyta SIKORSKA, a clinical psychologist by background, a specialist in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). For several years, she worked as psychologist-counsellor for NGOs and local government in Gdansk, Poland. As from 2009 she has been working for the EU Institutions. Prior to her current position, she was responsible for public procurement in the Science in Society Unit. Currently, she is working in the Ethics and Research Integrity Sector, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission. She is responsible for operational issues in the ethics appraisal process, experts’ support and ethics helpdesk. In addition, she is responsible for the cooperation with the representatives of National Ethics Councils and organization of the NEC Forum meetings.

Cíntia Águas

Executive Secretary to the CNECV
Law Degree, Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra. Registered Lawyer since 2002. Post-graduate training in Administrative Law and Litigation. Training course in Public Management. PhD student in Bioethics and Researcher at the Bioethics Institute of the Portuguese Catholic University. Guest lecturer at Universidade de Lisboa, Universidade de Coimbra, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Nursing School S. Francisco das Misericórdias. Member of the Bioethics Study Centre. Member of the Ethics Reflection Group of the Portuguese Association of Palliative Care. Vice-President of the Ethics Commission of the Portuguese Red Cross School of Health - Lisbon. Author of articles, papers and scientific communications in the areas of bioethics and citizenship, justice and bioethics, new technologies, genetically modified organisms, Biobanks and DNA databases, PMA, human rights and access to drinking water.

Mara de Sousa Freitas

Assessor to the CNECV
PhD in Bioethics. Postgraduate degrees in Medicine Law and Bioethics. Specialization in Anthropology and Health. Registered Nurse (RN). Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethics and Deontology at ESEL. External Visiting Assistant Professor for the PhD in Bioethics, Un. Catholic University of Portugal, MSc in Palliative Care, Faculty of Medicine of the Un. Lisbon, PhD Faculty of Pharmacy of the Un. of Lisbon, Nova Medical School. Coordination of Post-Graduation Courses in Bioethics, Faculty of Law, Un. Lisbon. Coordination of the Organisational Ethics unit, Egas Moniz CRL. External scientist at Nova University of Lisbon – Nova Health: Value Improvement in Health and Care. European Commission ethics expert, since 2015. Member/rapporteur of the Ethics Committee of the Health Parliament Portugal (2017-2019); President of the Ethics Committee Universidade Católica Portuguesa and LInQUE Palliative Care. Member of the Ethics Committee for Health of the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge. Author of national and international publications on Bioethics, Medicine Law, Ethics in Health Care and Ethics in Palliative Care.



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