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Introduction

Over four decades, "Bioethics" has defined the narrative space for reflections on normative issues related to the life sciences. As a profession, bioethicists have become part of the institutional framework of science governance, to serve analytical and advisory purposes for a broad range of stakeholders (state, business and social groups). As a discipline, it has developed a curriculum that is distinguishable from the humanities (especially philosophy and history), social sciences (esp. anthropology) and pure medicine. Although most nations and scientific communities have contributed and adhered to some of the standards of the field, Bioethics is yet to be in the lead of conceptual inspiration and innovation.

Limitations of the current framework and institution are exposed when one attempts to address the depth, diversity and fluidity of trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural topics and themes that it brings up. Recent debates over the validity of basic scientific quality criteria (DORA, WCRI), such as He Jiankuiā€™s genome-editing experiments. AI in biotechnology and digital health are left to other research communities. And there is no apparent understanding of how to break up the silos of disciplines and stakeholders, or how to disrupt introspective narratives and mobilize a unified scientific discourse that addresses the requirements of social needs and theoretical potency. Notwithstanding its merits, Bioethics as a model now appears to be an outdated concept. It is high time to consider other options and innovative approaches and to reclaim trust and responsibility of science, as a sustainable value base for society.

This conference is designed to address these matters, from different disciplines and perspectives, in an informal manner in order to explore a narrative that allows us to depart from the bioethics as we know it. It will be pro-active in scenario building, for practical options and evaluation of best practice models for an integrated science quality governance approach. The deliberative discourse will aim to advise capability building and quality enhancement in terms of a general vision and inspire different disciplines and specialties to participate and share.

The conference will be conducted for one full day, with 8 presentations from 3 medical practitioners and 5 philosophers. The extensive discussion will be moderated and documented to deliver concrete practical and theoretical outcomes. A concluding roundtable discussion will focus on a general assessment of the challenges, with an attempt to develop structural propositions formulated towards a roadmap. Reference to the framework of Global Health and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will be made in context. This trajectory should serve to engage other, likeminded initiatives and prepare grounds for collaboration and future research programmes.