Synthetic Biology Public Debate

Synthetic Biology Public Debate

On 9 November Professor Brigitte Nerlich organised a public debate about synthetic biology and responsible innovation as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science. The debate was chaired by geneticist, author, and broadcaster Adam Rutherford. Members of the panel were Hilary Sutcliffe, who is the Director of MATTER, an NGO/think tank exploring Responsible Innovation, particularly in the use of new technologies. Dr Klaus Winzer and Professor Pete Licence; members of our very own SBRC, and in the end, Brigitte herself, as Andrew Balmer from SynBioChem at the University of Manchester was unable to attend.

The event attracted many of our SBRC’s students and staff and some interested members of the public. People were really engaged and asked questions that nicely covered the as yet rather unexplored inter-space between synthetic biology and responsible research and innovation. The debate was so animated that it was in the end quite hard to stop it and retire to the foyer for a few well-deserved drinks and nibbles. SBRC Outreach and Communications Officer – Louise Dynes laid the organisational groundwork for the day and produced a very well received leaflet about the debate but couldn’t attend the debate itself, while Dr Carmen McLeod was Brigitte’s right-hand woman on the day. Brigitte would also like to thank all the research students from the Institute for Science and Society who helped out on the day. So overall it was a nice team effort! The Debate leaflet which gives the speakers biographies can be found in this PDF Handout