Press Release 05/2012

Christiane Woopen to be the new Chair of the German Ethics Council

Christiane Woopen is the future Chair of the German Ethics Council. Wolf-Michael Catenhusen, Peter Dabrock and Jochen Taupitz are her deputies (Vice-Chairs).

Today (Thursday), the newly composed German Ethics Council held its first plenary meeting in Berlin.

After the welcome address by the President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, the Council elected a new executive from among its members, composed this time of four persons.

Thirteen of the total of 26 members had already been newly appointed to the Ethics Council by Bundestag President Norbert Lammert on 11 April.

The meeting continued with a preliminary consideration of the Ethics Council’s future work programme. An initial working group on brain death was established and is to lay down the structure of its approach to the issue by the date of the next meeting in June. At the same time the Ethics Council will pursue its deliberations on genetic diagnosis, on which it had already embarked in December 2011 in response to a request from the Federal Government. In addition, the holding of a public meeting on research in developing countries, patenting and the protection of experimental subjects was contemplated.

The German Ethics Council was established in April 2008 on the basis of the Ethics Council Act of 16 July 2007 with a mandate to pursue the questions of ethics, society, science, medicine and law that arise and the probable consequences for the individual and society that result in connection with research and development, in particular in the field of the life sciences and their application to humanity. The Council’s members specifically represent the concerns of the natural sciences, medicine, theology, philosophy, ethics, society, economics and the law; they include not only academics working in these disciplines, but also persons of repute who are particularly familiar with the ethical issues arising in the life sciences.

For more information, please visit