Happy New Year from the Progress Educational Trust


The Progress Educational Trust (PET) has kicked off the New Year by exhibiting at Fertility 2018 in Liverpool. This was the 10th joint conference of the British Fertility Society, the Association of Clinical Embryologists and the Society for Reproduction and Fertility, with exhibitors including PET and with speakers including PET Trustee Professor Allan Pacey.

Professor Allan Pacey, Trustee at the Progress Educational Trust (PET)Sarah Norcross, Director of the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Commissioning Editor of PET's flagship publication BioNewsSandy Starr, Communications Manager at the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Webmaster of PET's flagship publication BioNewsJennifer Willows, Legal Editor at the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and at PET's flagship publication BioNewsFiona Fox, Chair of Trustees at the Progress Educational Trust (PET)

PET Director Sarah Norcross manned an exhibition stand at the conference, and PET also exhibited a poster at the conference. The poster detailed the findings of 'Basic Understanding of Genome Editing', a project conducted by PET in partnership with Genetic Alliance UK and with the support of the Wellcome Trust.

'Genome editing and the cultural imagination', lead article in the most recent issue of 'Microbiology Today' magazine, written by Sandy Starr and Jennifer Willows (Communications Manager and Legal Editor respectively at the Progress Educational Trust) The project and its findings have been discussed recently:

  • In the lead article - written by PET's Communications Manager Sandy Starr and Legal Editor Jennifer Willows - in the most recent issue of Microbiology Today magazine, as well as in an accompanying editorial.

  • In articles by academics in the UK (including this article on the University of Nottingham's Making Science Public blog) and in the USA (including this article in the journal Plain Text).

  • At the debate 'Can Biotech Lead an Economic Revolution?', produced and chaired by Sandy Starr as part of the Battle of Ideas festival at the Barbican Centre (listen to a podcast of that debate here).

  • At the debate 'Genome Editing: Where Do We Draw the Line?', chaired by Fiona Fox - PET's Chair of Trustees - at the Royal Institution as part of Biology Week.

  • At a 'What Works' event, held as part of the Genome Editing Public Engagement Synergy programme, where Sandy gave a presentation about the project.


Another major event at which the project has been discussed is PET's most recent Annual Conference, 'Crossing Frontiers: Moving the Boundaries of Human Reproduction', which saw a stellar lineup of speakers discuss cutting-edge developments in reproductive medicine and research.

The conference has been the subject of high-profile media coverage, including:


PET has been publishing synopses of each conference session in its flagship publication BioNews. See:

BioNews has also reported on the fact that one of the conference speakers, Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, was recognised in the New Year's Honours 'for services to genetics, stem cell research and the public understanding of science' - all areas close to PET's heart.

Subscribe to BioNews for free here, to keep up to date with the latest news and views on assisted conception, genetics and embryo/stem cell research.


PET has recently been involved in a number of other events related to the themes of its 'Crossing Frontiers' conference and its earlier 'Rethinking the Ethics of Embryo Research' conference, including:

  • 'Anne McLaren and Translation', a conference organised jointly by the Anne McLaren Memorial Trust Fund and the Wellcome Trust, where the opening Keynote Address was given by PET's Patron Baroness Mary Warnock and chaired by PET Director Sarah Norcross.

  • 'The Ethics and Regulation of In Vitro Gametogenesis', a conference organised jointly by King's College London, Lancaster University and the Wellcome Trust, where Sarah Norcross was a panellist.

Meanwhile, speakers from both the 'Crossing Frontiers' and 'Rethinking the Ethics of Embryo Research' conferences have contributed to a recent article in the journal Nature Biotechnology, exploring the themes of the two conferences and specifically the 14-day limit on human embryo research.