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Genomics Forum · News

Synthetic biology dialogue report released



Results of the Genomics Forum's public dialogue on synthetic biology using the Democs tool are now available.


In 2007, the ESRC Genomics Forum received a small grant from the Scottish Government to undertake public engagement activities relating to synthetic biology, an emerging scientific discipline that is receiving considerable media and policy attention. We have used this grant to develop a version of Democs, a public dialogue tool, which was rolled out in Scotland and England between November 2009 and March 2010. You can read a summary and full report of the dialogue here:

Democs Synthetic Biology Report Summary (PDF 254KB)

Playing Democs Games to Explore Synthetic Biology, July 2010 (PDF 1,717KB)

Democs stands for ‘Deliberative Meetings Of Citizens.’ It is a card ‘game’ that allows a small group to find out about an issue, discuss it, seek common ground, and give their views. No prior knowledge of the issue is needed, and no ‘experts’ need be present to run the activity. Democs can also be used to feed into policy consultations – a version was specially developed for use in the 2003 ‘GM Nation’ debate.

Democs games are licensed under Creative Commons. You can download the cards, instructions and other components of the game here, or for a printed kit, please email Dr Christine Knight, project manager at the Genomics Forum, at christine.knight@ed.ac.uk (tel 0131 651 4743).

Democs was devised by nef (the new economics foundation) in 2001. This Synthetic Biology Democs game was commissioned by the Genomics Forum, and funded by the Scottish Government with additional support from the Genomics Forum. The game was developed by independent consultant Dr Donald Bruce (Edinethics Ltd), in collaboration with Perry Walker (nef).