UK submission to the UNESCO review of the Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers: key issues for inclusion

Article date: 2 Jun 2015, Author: Dr Beth Taylor, Tracey Brown, Professor John Finney, Professor Sheila McLean, Professor Colin McInnes, Katriona Methven, Professor Paul Nightingale, Dr Jack Stilgoe, Sophie Leedham

UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers was introduced at the 18th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 1974. It was intended to help Member States to formulate and execute adequate policy frameworks for science research and development aiming, inter alia, to support researchers and encourage new entrants.

In November 2013, the 37th Session of the UNESCO General Conference decided to begin a consultation process that may result in revision of the original text of the Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers. The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) supports the call for a revision of the Recommendation and in November 2014, shared with UNESCO its preliminary ideas for a revision to the Recommendation.

In order to provide a more comprehensive UK response, the UKNC convened an expert task group of leading UK experts from both social and natural sciences to consider the relevance of such a Recommendation, how the scientific landscape has moved on from the 1970s and how any such Recommendation should be developed to meet contemporary need. Their conclusions and recommendations are available for download below.

UNESCO has consulted Member States, as well as specialist agencies (the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committe and the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology) on the proposed revision to the Recommendation and is expected to share a preliminary report on its consultation in mid-2016.