The European Commission grants the University its first H2020 humanities project from the “Science with and for Society” program

Led by the Institute for Culture and Society and endowed with 1.2 million euros, the project studies assisted human reproduction in Europe with an interdisciplinary approach

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Francisco Güell
FOTO: Manuel Castells
04/12/20 11:30 Isabel Solana

The European Commission has awarded the University its first H2020 humanities grant within the framework of its Science with and for Society (SwafS) program. Endowed with 1.2 million euros, it is led by Francisco Güell, a researcher from the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS).

The project is entitled, “Be Better Informed About Fertility. Giving voice to citizens towards improving assisted reproduction technologies for society (B2-InF) and will study assisted human reproduction in Europe from an interdisciplinary approach.

Through semi-structured interviews, the project will collect and analyze young people’s scientific knowledge, expectations, and concerns about the science of human reproduction. B2-InF will also focus on the kind of information clinics offer society and how it can be improved.

The study will be carried out in Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Macedonia, Albania, Slovenia and Kosovo, which present very different social and legal realities in this field.

"The European Commission gave the proposal a 100 out of 100 score, something truly unusual for highly competitive international grant calls," Francisco Güell highlights. He specifies that the idea for the project has been in the works since 2013 when he presented a study that was ultimately published, after going through eight reviewers, in 2017.

“More than a stand-alone project, its preparation has been necessary to fulfill what I am called to do: Serve the entire community involved in assisted human reproduction, including professionals, patients, governments, and above all, the born from it,”he notes.

Bio-legal analysis

His participation in the project, in addition to coordination, involves guiding its bio-legal analysis. “Early embryo development has been my object of study for more than ten years and, with the rise of assisted human reproduction techniques, I became interested in how these techniques may be affecting the development of the unborn child and the health of those who are born,” Güell indicates.

In this sense, he comments that he has introduced in the academic community “the need for a view that relates to the exercise of techniques from the axis of responsibility, both including clinics’ patients (parental responsibility), as well as professionals and society.”

The ICS researcher highlights that B2-Inf includes a consortium of 10 partners, who make up "a first-rate team." He details that, although they have diverse backgrounds, their global view will allow him to orient each one’s effort and direct them towards fulfilling the project’s objectives.

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