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Nürtingen-Geislingen University is abandoning genetic tests

The Nürtingen-Geislingen University is abandoning genetic testing. Professor Dr. Andreas Schier, the scientific supervisor of the project, is complying with the request of the University’s executive board and the University council to abandon his project involving genetically modified maize plants.

That the University takes a critical and differentiated view of the project is well known. However, the Rector of Nürtingen-Geislingen University, Professor Dr. Werner Ziegler, does not hide the fact that growing public pressure and a protest at the Tachenhausen testing area has contributed to accelerating the decision now taken.
Nevertheless, the University is at pains to underline that the unrestricted principle of freedom of research and education is still valid and this policy remains unchanged. The project could therefore only be terminated with the consent of the scientists involved.

The head of the project, Professor Dr. Andreas Schier, yielded to pressure: “For me, there were no professional or scientific reasons to abandon the project, but I have yielded to pressure from the University’s executive board and the University council.” Schier highlighted that maintaining the peace at the university is important to him, but more important is the growing hostility that was interfering with his private life and affecting his family. He said that he no longer wished to expose his personal life to this pressure. However, he also said that this decision was another blow for the research location of Germany.

Withdrawal from genetic research project

Rector Dr. Ziegler told the press that his empathy for the protests against genetic engineering projects had grown over time. However, he also made it clear that he regarded the sit-ins at field sites as an illegal action. He believes that a high degree of freedom is necessary in research but that it is also legitimate for different opinions about research to co-exist. Research and science depend on often vigorous differences of opinion. And this is exactly what happens at the University of Nürtingen-Geislingen. The fact that staff, researchers and students have different opinions on genetic research is exactly what should be expected from a university.

Scientists search for knowledge and are quite often confronted with criticism and refutation. The principle of freedom of research is the basis of all research. Nürtingen-Geislingen University bases all its research on this fundamental principle, but does not hide behind it. “The University’s executive board has to respect this principle, it is an essential part of the very definition of the University’s purpose and it applies to all scientists at this University.” The University’s executive board can only directly interfere if research infringes valid legal regulations. And this is not the case here.

Source: Nürtingen-Geislingen University (P) - 09.04.2008
Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/nuertingen-geislingen-university-is-abandoning-genetic-tests