Can public opinion shape the future of genome editing research?

Newer genome editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas, are revolutionising scientific research and bringing about a myriad of potential applications in many fields. For science and technology to progress timely and efficiently, the societal debate must move forward at the same pace to help guide the direction of scientific research and to frame policy-making decisions. As this technology progresses, what will be the key questions to address as the public is engaged in these conversations? This article hints at some of them while a comprehensive list will be discussed at ESOF dilemma café session on Friday 13th –participate to find out!

Conflicting values of biomedical innovation?

The term ‘value’ is at the centre of an increasingly explicit debate in the fields of health and healthcare policy. ‘Value’ is understood in many different ways and diverging interests are being mobilised. How are values in biomedical innovation being expressed, represented, materialised and aligned or contested in different areas of biomedicine? How do values embedded in regulation, public health, economic policies, healthcare provision, technology assessment, producers’ strategies, and patient organisation movements shape biomedical innovations? At an ESOF discussion in Toulouse multidisciplinary perspectives on value between panel members and public participants will be explored and possible pathways to common solutions identified that promote socially acceptable biomedical innovation in the European context.

Seeds and farmers stories

Our food security may be controlled by a small group, fewer than 10 very large corporations. They decide prices, varieties, conditions of growth. SEEDcontrol is a project born from the partnership between formicablu, an Italian science communication agency, and Oxpeckers, a South African Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism. Specifically, the project has been designed by Elisabetta Tola and Fiona Macleod.

Sweet tooth: countering one of our most lethal addictions

Sugar is one of the next targets of health policy makers in Europe. It features as one of the ingredients in the latest food reformulation roadmap, just published by the European Commission. This ingredient has crept up in European diets unprecedented levels. As a result it could have serious consequences for the heath of European citizens, reflected in the increase of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Today, sugar has become very political. And the debate rages on between those concerned for public health and those in favour of preserving consumer choice, avoiding nanny states interventions and protecting the food industry’s market share.