McGill’s policy on “harmful consequences”

McGill University is contemplating ending “a requirement that any professor receiving research support from the military indicate whether the research could have ‘direct harmful consequences.'” The proponents of striking the measure say that all research should be scrutinized for harmful consequences, whereas the opponents say that it opens the gates for the US defense industry to shift the Canadian (Canadien?) research agenda.

I’m surprised they even had such a provision in the first place, given the existing injunctions against secret/classified research.

This reminds me a discussion last night at dinner, where my friend told us about a book by UCSD professor Chandra Mukerji called A Fragile Power: Scientists and the State, which talks a bit about science is dependent on state (and military funding) and how the state views scientists as a kind of “reserve force” of experts whose knowledge may become crucial later.

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2 thoughts on “McGill’s policy on “harmful consequences”

  1. Now that I know it exists, I like that provision. At the very minimum, it may make people think about the consequences of their research — a practice that is not really widespread.

    What is this thing about existing injunctions against secret/classified research?

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