The US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has announced new funding for the creation of transdisciplinary research specifically for the study of the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of emerging genome technologies and the growing proliferation of genomic information. These Centers for Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research, or CEERs, are to seek to integrate basic genomics with clinical and health policy research, ethics, law and the humanities, and to make ELSI findings available to policymakers. Their research teams are to “have the expertise and flexibility to anticipate, conduct research on, and respond rapidly to a range of ELSI issues” (see call for proposals).
The research agenda of the CEERs should focus on a single issue or a set of related issues relevant to the NHGRI's large-scale scientific research initiatives, including the Cancer Genome Atlas (see previous news), Human Microbiome Project (see previous news) and 1000 Genomes Project (see previous news).
A total of almost US $4 million will be made available to fund a total of up to three specialised centres and three exploratory research projects for five years from 2010. Two CEERs at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia were previously created as part of an earlier funding round (see previous news).