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  • James Gregory Lecture: John Chryssavgis on “A Christian response to the ecological crisis” Watch
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About the Society, Religion and Technology Project

Technology is changing the face of our society. Often it happens unseen. It’s hard to stand back and grasp the impact of the car, electricity, telephones, TV, computers, the Internet. They’re now part of our life - things we could hardly imagine being without. Yet ethical challenges like cloning and GM food, and environmental impacts like global warming have made us aware of the risks of letting our skills run ahead of our judgement. There is now a recognition that we need to take wider ethical and social values into account in technology. image This has been the aim of the Society, Religion and Technology Project (SRTP) for almost 40 years. A short history of SRTP has been prepared by Dr. John Francis. SRT_Historical_Booklet.pdf

The Society, Religion and Technology Project (SRT for short) was set up by  the Church of Scotland in 1970 to examine some of the vital issues in the intersection between science, religion and technology. We aim to bring professional expertise to providing informed and penetrating comment for technologists, educators, media, the Church, the public - in fact anyone with an interest in how technology is affecting our lives, and the issues it raises. We have a reputation for the quality and fairness of our work, independent of vested interests and pressure groups. The SRT Project was awarded the 1999 UK Templeton Prize for a UK institution, in recognition of its pioneering work at the interface of ethics and technology. Technology has brought many great benefits to society, which we often take for granted, but it can also pose big ethical dilemmas - not just unexpected risks and side-effects, but unintended social consequences and even changes in our moral outlook.

Aims:

  • To foster an informed understanding in society of the issues confronting it as a result of emerging technologies; to bring a voice of balance into complex issues.
  • To engage with scientists and technologists to reflect on ethical, environmental and societal implications of their work; to promote ethics teaching to science students.
  • To respond with considered judgment to Government and national bodies on technology and environmental issues, and to be active in their European and global dimensions.
  • To inform the churches of Scotland and the UK about key developments.
  • To act as a Christian witness to the world of science and technology.
  • To stimulate good environmental practice in the churches and in wider society.

Communication

Public debate: SRTP is a catalyst for public engagement on current issues in science, technology and the environment, through talks, conferences and publications. We have worked with a variety of agencies, including the New Economics Foundation’s Democs project to promote public debate. SRTP has run popular ethical debates at the annual Edinburgh International Science Festival and the BA Science Festival.  We can provide speakers on many of the issues covered here. Please email srtp@cofscotland.org.uk

Media:  Through the Church of Scotland media office, we work closely at all levels with the media in national and local press, TV and radio. Through the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO) we also communicate with politicians in Scotland, the UK and Europe.  The SRTP also produces short papers and information leaflets on a wide range of topics.

Dr Murdo Macdonald SRTP Policy Officer: Dr Murdo Macdonald took up the position of Policy Officer in March 2008. He trained as a molecular biologist, studying at Glasgow and St Andrews Universities. Murdo has significant international work experience having spent 8 years as head of a leprosy research laboratory in Kathmandu, Nepal.

 

Become an SRTP Associate: SRTP is looking to expand its work and its spheres of communication. It invites any who identify with its aims to become associates, receiving news, articles, and invitations to special events. If you are interested please contact the SRTP Office.

SRT Project Associates and Contributors: Read more about our past and present Associates and Contributors.

The SRT Project Committee

Dr Caroline Cowan, Prof Rona Mackie-BlackFinlay Buchanan, Laura Buist,  Dr Eric Stoddart, Dr Andrew Torrance, Barry Watson, Major Steven Turner, Rev Alexander McAspurren and Dr Léon Van Ommen.

The SRT Week of Prayer

The SRT Project Week of Prayer takes place in the second week of June each year - a date chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of one of Scotland’s greatest scientists, the physicist James Clerk- Maxwell. Clerk- Maxwell was also a prominent Christian and an elder of the Church of Scotland. Download a leaflet.

Contact Us

Visit our Contact Us page to find our contact details, and an email form you can use to send us a message