A role play exploring the issues around taking stem cells to the clinic. The scenario is an open public hearing of a research ethics committee, to decide on granting a licence for a clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Participants role play members of the committee and different stakeholders in the audience, and in doing so engage in debates on the scientific and social issues surrounding stem cell research.
All items are optional: camera (video & stills), audio recording device, DVD player or computer with web access, screen and speakers.
Previous biology courses are not an absolute pre-requisite; the role play may be carried out in Biology, Modern Studies, Personal and Social Education, Ethics or Religious Education courses.
In addition to the languages available via the flags in the right hand side menu, you can download below a zip of the role play files in Gaelic.
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"This is a superb role play! Really well resourced and structured, with plenty of supporting material! The debate that this activity will generate will certainly engage your learners and will help them consider all aspects of stem cells research and respect other people's views, feelings and opinions. An outstanding resource and very relevant to today's world and issues."
An Open Public Hearing of a Research Ethics Committee, to decide on granting a licence for a clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Students will role play members of the committee and different stakeholders in the audience.
Students will be provided with background information on stem cells and spinal cord injury, as well as short biography cards for their characters.
The role play can be sound recorded, to listen back to when evaluating.
Year 11, Sixth form and undergraduate students (ages 15+). Previous Biology courses are not an absolute pre-requisite; the role play may be carried out in Biology, Modern Studies, Personal and Social Education or Religious Education classes.
After completing the role play, participants should have a better understanding of the basic scientific concepts underlying stem cell research. However, the main objective of this resource is to be an exploration of the social issues around stem cell research. It is therefore not a traditional educational package in that it has not been developed to teach the students science or social research methods.
The role play has been designed to address the following issues:
"I would recommend this role play as it gave me an insight into the application for a clinical trial process and background into stem cell research. A very fun way of learning."
"I liked that as many as 10 people were involved in the discussion and that all possible views were represented. It was very interesting and encouraged a deeper understanding of bioethics."
"We enjoyed it thoroughly, continuing on the discussion at home that night. It really made me aware of aspects I had overlooked, it was enlightening."
Ten participants are recommended. A minimum of 8 participants is necessary.
The Research Ethics Committee (REC)
Will make final decision on whether the company can go ahead with the trial, based on all the evidence, concerns and recommendations put before them, by the company and other stakeholders, and is made up of 4 members:
The Stakeholder Audience
Main task is to present personal or group views, concerns, interests and expectations to the Committee:
A. Pre-Open Public Hearing (45 or 60 min session; possibly one week before hearing)
Participants can prepare for the hearing by reading the information that they have received and/or view the films ‘A Stem Cell Story’ and 'Conversations'. They are also encouraged to research the character they have been assigned, for example, using this website.
B. The Open Public Hearing and Discussion (2-2.5 hour session)
C. Meeting of all role play participants
All groups (participants and ‘real-life’ characters who have run the role play) come together informally, in a non-hierarchical setting, to discuss common issues raised by the role play.
Participants and facilitator(s) will be asked to fill out short questionnaires which will feed back into any changes made to the role play. All feedback and the decision reached by the Research Ethics Committee will be published on the EuroStemCell website.
The role play can be carried out in a classroom, other room or even outdoors. The layout should be that of a public hearing: tables with chairs (for 4 people) facing a seated audience. The materials include:
This role play is a great tool and we hope you'll use it. But if you are looking for a shorter activity to use within a standard school lesson, you might like to have a look at the resource Points of View as well.
|Clinical trial, Stem cells & Spinal cord injuries information.pdf||903.48 KB|
|REC Guidelines.pdf||219.5 KB|
|REC chairperson notes.pdf||216.85 KB|
|Feedback forms.pdf||225.1 KB|
|Facilitator's Debriefing Notes.pdf||216.12 KB|
This role play was developed by the Institute for Stem Cell Research and Innogen (ESRC centre for social and economic research on innovation in genomics), at the University of Edinburgh, with support from the Scottish Stem Cell Network and a Moray Endowment Fund award of the University of Edinburgh. It was further developed in 2011 by REMEDI at the National University of Ireland Galway through EuroStemCell.
Many scientific reviewers enabled this work to be updated and accurate. Special thanks to Oliver Brustle, Manal Hadenfeld, Goran Hermerén, Lars Nolden, Nicolas Madigan, Aaron Liew and Stephen Elliman.
Ready or not? A role play on taking stem cells into the clinic by EuroStemCell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.crm.ed.ac.uk.
For permissions beyond the scope of this license, contact us.