About Us

The Institute for Science, Law & Technology (ISLAT), at the Illinois Institute of Technology, studies the implications of emerging science in its social and legal contexts. The Institute sponsors long-term, multi-disciplinary research, public conferences, judicial training, symposia for journalists, student education, and other programs. The Institute focuses on biotechnology, information technology, environmental science, and cross-cutting issues such as products liability, intellectual property, design of legal and market institutions, and use of technology in the courtroom. In addition, ISLAT faculty and staff draft laws and regulations that guide public policy decisions.

No aspect of our lives remains untouched by technology - from the way children are created to the way people die, from the way we communicate to the way we learn and work. As a society, we have come to rely on technology to meet consumer preferences, to promote economic growth, and to address social problems such as improving human health and conserving the environment. The weight social and policy-making institutions place on scientific proof has changed how we conduct business and how we develop policy. Yet, along with their vast potential for improving our lives, emerging technologies may create scientific challenges for risk assessment and may have initially unrecognized impacts on cultural values and social concepts.

ISLAT sees technology with a human face. The promises of technology, and the consequences of technology, all shape a human story. Since its inception, ISLAT has employed interdisciplinary analyses to assess technologies in ways that maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. ISLAT has been called upon to advise the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor, and foreign governments on genetics issues, privacy, and the ethical considerations of technology. ISLAT has undertaken pro bono litigation cases, including filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court.

ISLAT brings together cross-disciplinary laboratory research, clinical practice, graduate-level education teams, and legal and policy scholars who represent government, academia, and industry. The combined expertise spans basic scientific research, development, testing, implementation and assessment of technology, and regulation.

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