The aims of our network should be those which our members consider important, but here are some of the initial ones.
- Workshops to bring together interested historians and scientists - six workshops have already been held:
- Birmingham (2003)
- Brno (2005)
- Barcelona (2008), as a satellite meeting of European Society of Human Genetics, helping to establish valuable links
- Gothenburg (2010) with the support of the Wellcome Trust and ESHG
- Nuremberg (2012)
- Glasgow (2015)
- Encouragement of academic departments of history of science and medicine to become interested and undertake in depth analyses - detailed studies need historical and social science skills, but unless the original documentation and foundations are preserved, historians may have inadequate facts to draw on.
- Genetics and the wider public - most people are interested in genetics and many have concerns about its uses in medicine and elsewhere. Full documentation of historical aspects is an essential part of understanding, even though some of this may be disturbing.
- Particularly important or controversial events - for example, genetics and medicine in the USSR and Nazi Germany.
- Interviews with key figures - Oral History - an urgent activity since many are frail and most elderly. Following the completed series of 100 interviews by Professor Peter Harper, a new ESHG sponsored programme is undr way across Europe.
- The Human Genetics Historical Library. A collection of books on human genetics, now exceeding 3000 volumes.
- Location of record collections of important centres, Professional Societies and workers - many such collections exist, but do people know where and how to access them? For the UK, a web based inventory of important collections is being developed with support from the Wellcome Trust.
- Archiving of records of key workers in human and medical genetics- link to records.
- Historical documentation of specific genetic disorders - considerable work has already been done on this, but few of the early publications are accessible.
Not all of the aims listed here need to be carried out by the Network itself; indeed it would be impossible and probably inadvisable to do so. However, the network can act as a powerful stimulus to highlight the importance and urgency of particular activities, and should help to co-ordinate projects between interested individuals and centres.