Over the last half-century, SRT’s wide-ranging work has covered such hot-button topics as nuclear power, climate change, and stem cell research. Their reports have helped the Church form policies regarding many of the most important issues of our time.
SRT began by studying the impact of North Sea oil discoveries. It then branched out into the energy debate and sustainability before tackling the many advances in medicine, science, and communication in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Timeline: 50 years of SRT
- 1970: SRT is founded, with Dr John Francis its first director. The Advisory Group (now the SRT Committee) is created the following year.
- 1973: SRT publishes its first report, on the impact of North Sea Oil and Gas developments.
- 1976-9: Research and reports on nuclear energy, the world food crisis, and renewable energy.
- 1985: SRT celebrates its 15th anniversary. It now functions as a think-tank: an open forum for policy debate and a resource for adult Christian education.
- 1987: In response to the Chernobyl Disaster, SRT consults with representatives from the nuclear power industry. It also notes the rise of electronic communication and begins planning to explore the topic further.
- 1989-90: Energy saving and conservation become a major focus, in response to increasing concerns about climate change.
- 1992: Dr Donald Bruce becomes the director and SRT moves to John Knox House, as part of an effort to make the project more accessible to both the Church and the general public.
- 1997: Dolly the sheep is born at the Roslin Institute. SRT begins to increasingly contribute to the debate around cloning and genetics.
- 2004: SRT moves to Edinburgh Science Campus. Its research now includes biotechnology, environmental policy work alongside other religions, GM crops, nanotechnology, and cloning.
- 2008: The role of director is re-named to Policy Officer with the appointment of Dr Murdo Macdonald, the current Policy Officer.
- 2011-17: SRT’s research and reports consider the implications of the internet, surveillance, social justice, and questions around organ and tissue donation.
- 2020: SRT, which was originally only intended to run for three years, celebrates its 50th anniversary.
SRT at 50 events
To celebrate this milestone, SRT have exciting activities planned in the coming months. Here are a few:
- Out now, the January issue of Life and Work features an article on 50 years of SRT
- On 25 January, SRT Policy Officer Dr Murdo Macdonald will be speaking at the Young Adults’ Weekend in Arbroath.
- In May, look out for SRT during the General Assembly and come and visit them at Heart and Soul!
- 7 -13 June is SRT Week of Prayer.
For more information, events and more, please visit: https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/speak-out/science-and-technology/50th-anniversary