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A group of Mexican scientists have set up a discussion space to increase awareness within the scientific community regarding research ethics and social responsibility in science.

The Union of Scientists Committed to Society (UCCS) was launched last week (November 8) in Mexico City.

The founders say that scientific research should contribute more towards understanding and resolving the pressing issues in Mexican society, ranging from environmental sustainability to social injustice or the gaps in access to technology.

To this end, the union will launch a year-long cycle of monthly round-table discussions coordinated by leading experts on topics such as the use of genetically modified organisms to improve food security, the interaction between science and indigenous knowledge and science communication through broadcast media.

Interdisciplinary teams, mostly made up of postgraduate students, will research important themes. Their findings will be made accessible to nongovernmental organisations, the media, educational institutes and government organisations.

"Rather than approaching them individually, as has been done in the past, we will gather qualitative forces from all sciences to present solid arguments backed by consensus," UCCS founding president Elena Alvarez Buylla told SciDev.Net.

Amparo Martínez, an earth scientist at Mexico's National University, says there is an urgent need to tackle climate change issues through interdisciplinary discussion groups that will inform policy on environment and energy issues.