The main aim of this Task group is to provide a forum for IUR members to discuss a variety of issues concerned with the interaction of scientific research and policy making. The Group's area of interest covers philosophical questions such as the relationship and demarcation between "fact and value", the role of ethical and value judgements on decision-making and risk perception and communication.
Over the past 18 months, the main focus has been on issues concerned with protection of the environment from ionising radiation, including legal, cultural and ethical aspects of environmental protection. Together with the Task Group on "Doses to non-human biota", this has included co-arrangement of the Oslo Consensus Conference (link) at which a number of ethical and philosophical issues influencing radiation protection were discussed. Topic covered the philosophical aspects of risk, psychology and risk perception, public participation and stakeholder issues. In addition to the co-chairs Per Strand and Deborah Oughton, a number of IUR representatives from both Task Groups attended the meeting (including future board members George Hunter, Francois B. and Rudolf Alexhakin and Ethics Task Group members Graham Smith and Lars Persson). Since that meeting, we are pleased to welcome Gennady Polikarpov, Pier Danesi, and Natalia Tereshenko as Task Group members.
The next Task Group meeting has been scheduled to coincide with the forthcoming Stockholm meeting on "protection of the environment" (6-10 October 2003). IUR members are encouraged to express their interest in attending the meeting and to suggest discussion subjects and future work. Possible topical issues might include Risk and Scientific Uncertainty, Communication, Stakeholder Involvement, and the organisation of a further consensus conference.