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 f 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.

This workshop is kindly supported and hosted by the Volkswagen Foundation. Additional support is being provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Registration for this event is full. We have a waiting list for the meeting and can offer your place to another person if you cannot attend. Simply use the Volkswagen Foundation‘s  registration cancellation tool or send an email to Mareike Rubman.


Briefing Paper

This briefing paper will outline policies, positions, and insights from global academies of science and medicine on genome editing technologies and their security implications.  The paper will be posted online in early October.

Breakout Session Instructions

Workshop participants will be assigned to 1 of 4 breakout groups for the duration of the event: medicine, agriculture, gene drives, or microbial applications. Additional details about the breakout sessions will be posted online in early October.

Workshop Organizers

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.

Social Media Guidelines

Please carefully read the following guidelines before you tweet (or Blog, or Instagram, or Google+, or LinkedIn, etc.). In order to find a balance between the needs and expectations of workshop speakers and attendees and to make the meeting a safe and comfortable space for everyone, we ask you to use the following guidelines:

  • During the plenary sessions we encourage open, respectful discussion of workshop content on social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) and blogging platforms during the workshop.
  • While the default policy during the plenary sessions is to allow open discussion of workshop presentations on social media and blogging platforms, please respect any request from speakers to not share the contents of their presentation online. Speakers who do not wish to have their research shared  should make an announcement before and during her/his presentation. We encourage speakers to also use an opt-out Twitter image on every slide of her/his presentation to ensure their preference is known.
  • During the breakout sessions we respectfully ask all participants to adhere to the Chatham House Rule: workshop participants are welcome to communicate about information they receive, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, should be revealed.
  • We expect all meeting participants to engage to behave with the highest of decorum in their communications online and in person. Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form will not be tolerated.  Individuals who behave in a disrespectful or discriminatory manner will be asked to leave the workshop.

Satellite Event – Policy Mini-Hackathon (11 October 2017)

Members of the Global Young Academy working group on DIY SynBio are convening a satellite event, Policy Mini-Hackathon on Future Security Challenges of Genome Editing Technologies, to be held 11 October, 2017 at the Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, Germany. The policy hackathon is the first of its kind pilot to explore a mechanism by which DIY community can contribute to policy solutions for potential future security challenges in the rapidly advancing field of genome editing.  Because space is extremely limited, attendance at the hackathon is by invitation-only. If you have questions about the hackathon, please send an email to the hackathon organizers Dr. Alexander Kagansky and Dr. Bart Kolodziejczyk.