Advances in genome editing technologies have enormous implications for the health and well-being of society and the environment. Genome editing tools, such as CRISPR/Cas9, enable scientists and clinicians to make faster, easier, and more precise changes in the DNA of microbes, plants, animals, and humans. Despite the promise to improve medicine, agriculture, and conservation, among other applications, the rise and ease of use of new genome editing technologies has fueled debates about their utility and safety. The advances are outpacing the capability of domestic and international security communities to coordinate and develop evidence-based policies.
To contribute to these discussions, the InterAcademy Partnership (the global network of academies of sciences and medicine), the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the European Academies Science Advisory Council, and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, are convening an international workshop to explore the potential security concerns posed by genome editing technologies. This workshop will bring together experts across the globe in genetic engineering, security studies, and public policy to discuss mechanisms, policies, and strategies to mitigate or prevent potential misuse. The need for international dialogue is particularly important because of the rapid development and wide-spread use of genome editing tools in countries with various, sometimes divergent, regulations and governance of research. Workshop participants will explore near- middle- and long-term security concerns – relating to intentional misuse – that may arise from these applications. Participants will also discuss technical, operational, regulatory and governance strategies that may aid the scientific and security communities in preventing or mitigating those security concerns. A report summarizing the workshop discussions will be published by the InterAcademy Partnership.
The workshop is free and open to members of the public. Advanced registration is required because space is limited. If you would like to attend the workshop, please register by clicking the registration link above. For assistance with registration and additional details about the workshop venue can be found on the Volkswagen Foundation website.
Travel Grant for Young Investigators and Journalists (Deadline June 30)
The Volkswagen Foundation is offering a limited number of travel grants for young investigators: PhD students and early career scientists that have completed a PhD within the last 5 years. Applicants must be engaged in work on genome editing and/or security implications of biotechnology. Successful applicants will have the opportunity present their work in a Poster Session and/or Lightning Talk. Up to five travel grants will also be provided for journalists from lower income countries. The travel grant includes travel expenses to and from Hanover, lodging in Hanover, and, visa fees (if applicable). The travel grant does not include local transportation expenses (e.g. cab fairs and parking), food and beverages while traveling, or poster printing costs. Additional details can be found on the Volkswagen Foundation website.
The final program will be published as soon as the speakers and chairs have confirmed their participation. View the preliminary program here.
The workshop organizing committee is comprised of 10 international scholars with expertise on genome editing, security implications of biotechnology, science and technology policy, and public engagement in science. Read more about the workshop organizing committee here.
Please cancel your registration if you are unable to attend the workshop. We have a waiting list for the meeting and can offer your place to another person if you cannot attend. Simply use the registration tool to cancel or send an email.