parenthoodWhen reproduction moves from the private sphere to a medical setting, it gives rise to a whole set of new issues and decisions to be made by lay people. The interdisciplinary Parenthood Research Group was set up in 2011 to conduct an empirical bioethics study about the meaning of genetic and non-genetic parenthood for families using assisted reproductive technologies. One of the aims of the GOA Parenthood project was to identify elements that are considered morally relevant by the (candidate) parents, the known donors, or the children; elements that are new (and potentially) challenging for the way bioethics is currently looking at questions that involve families.

RectorsThis year's 7th U4 Rectors' Meeting took place at the University of Göttingen on 23 and 24 November. During the annual Rectors' Meeting the activities of the past year were evaluated and the rectors decided on a strategy and agenda for the upcoming U4 year.  

To this end, the four academic clusters and the cluster for institutional management presented their work-in-progress and future actions for 2015.

In the framework of the Rectors' Meeting the university directors, the cluster chairs and the student representatives also took the opportunity to discuss further actions. Within the margin of the meeting the Multilingualism research network organized its first kick-off workshop.

Postponed Motherhood smallAdvances in reproductive medicine, like in-vitro fertilization and germ cell donation, have a high potential to change our perception of family and parenthood dramatically.

Recent research in reproductive medicine focuses on infertility due to advanced age. Within the last ten years, it has become possible to store oocytes through cryopreservation. Due to this improvement in egg-cell vitrification, the option for healthy women to freeze their unfertilized egg cells, so-called ‘social freezing’, is now likely to become clinical routine.

The participants discussed this new technology, compared different legal and ethical approaches on an international level and debated the normative concepts of late parenthood in light of a family-ethics approach.

Ghent Centre Global StudiesOn June 26 and 27 Ghent University hosts the general conference of the cluster Social Sciences, Economics and Law of the U4 Network.

The highlight of the conference will be Global Studies: Critical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, coordinated by the Ghent Centre for Global Studies. The Ghent Centre for Global Studies welcomes panel and paper proposals (abstract of 500 words) before 15 March.

rectorsOn 17 and 18 November 2013 Ghent University hosted the VIth Rectors'Meeting. On occasion of the annual meeting all four academic clusters, as well as the 5th cluster institutional management presented their work-in-progress and their plans for future actions.

In view of the EU's new MFF, special attention was paid to new education and research opportunities for U4 within Erasmus+ and Horizon2020.