Synthetic biology: concepts, values and politics – successful EA Summer School from 14 to 19 September 2014
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
The international EA Summer School about the analysis of the societal consequences of synthetic biology took place in Berlin from 15 to 19 September 2014. It was a cooperation with the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin and – for a public discussion event – with the Institute for Cultural Inquiry Berlin.
The aim of this interdisciplinary EA Summer School was to critically analyze different approaches to the evaluation of new techno-scientific areas, as exemplified by synthetic biology, with a particular emphasis on conceptual foundations.
The EA Summer School has succeeded in bringing together scientists whose interest in analyzing the social consequences of synthetic biology arises from a variety of different disciplines: philosophy, political sciences, sociology, and the main branches of synthetic biology: engineering biology, xenobiology, and protocell research. As intended, vivid discussions crossed disciplines swiftly, focussing, for example, on the notion of artificial life and on the independence of evaluative research vs. its integration with an emerging scientific/technological field. Another focus was the role of public engagement in the governance of synthetic biology. This was put to a practical test in the closing event of the summer school, a public discussion.
Funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Organization: Kristin Hagen, Ph.D., and Dr. Margret Engelhard (EA European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment) and PD Dr. Georg Toepfer (Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin)
Publication on EA Summer School: Further information in due course.