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Genomics Forum · News

Expert Global Forum to Consider the "Evolving Promise of the Life Sciences"



Leading experts in life and social sciences consider perspectives on historic and evolving biotechnological developments.


Changing perceptions of what the biotechnology revolution has delivered during the last 30 years, and the impact current perspectives might have on the future evolution of the life sciences, will be considered by leading life and social scientists when they gather in Paris on Monday 12 November 2012.

The Evolving Promise of the Life Sciences Global Forum, organised jointly by the OECD and the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, will consider if historic breakthroughs in life sciences – such as the cloning of Dolly the Sheep and the mapping of the human genome – have produced the economic and societal impacts originally anticipated. Focusing upon recently emerging sectors and developments within biotechnology, the Global Forum will then examine what can be learnt about the way expectations surrounding developing technologies shape the products and services these deliver to market.

The Global Forum will commence with a keynote address from the Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission Professor Anne Glover – on the current policy agenda and its influence on developments within the life sciences. The event will also feature sessions on key, current biotechnological developments spanning; health and biomedicine; industrial and synthetic biology; marine biotechnology; and the response to emerging pathogens.

Speaking as the Global Forum convened, the Director of the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, Professor Steve Yearley, said:

“There is no doubt that the life sciences potentially offer great economic, social and environmental benefits, perhaps representing a third global revolution following on from the industrial and information technology revolutions of previous centuries.

“But it is important to assess the kinds of expectations we have for biotechnologies and to understand that the regulatory, legal and institutional aspects of these new technologies are as critical as the scientific advances themselves.”

Also commenting on the significance of the Global Forum, the Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Biotechnology, Professor Gerardo Jiménez-Sánchez, said:

“The OECD’s interest in biotechnology extends beyond the science itself. It also encompasses the potential socio-economic implications of this rapidly developing sector.

“The Global Forum is an opportunity for us to analyse and learn from historic developments in biotechnology. These lessons can then be applied when developing areas of the life sciences, maximising potential benefits in areas such as synthetic biology and averting or mitigating the negative socio-economic impacts of new pathogens.”


World in DNA - logo used for OECD and Genomics Forum Event