International Summer School - Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects of Genome editing in Agriculture, 2-6 October 2017, Germany

Publish Date: Mar 17, 2017

Deadline: Mar 31, 2017

Event Dates: from Oct 02, 2017 12:00 to Oct 06, 2017 12:00

Subject - Beyond Precautionary Principle?

Recent advances in Genome Editing for agricultural purposes pose general questions in a new light: How should we regulate new breeding technologies for plants and livestock in a scientific way? What are the legal, societal and ethical backgrounds of the current food labelling practice in different countries, especially in Germany and the United Kingdom? Is food labelling an appropriate strategy to cope with uncertainty in risk discussions? Which alternatives could be suitable to respond to the specific protection needs of people, animals and the environment? Do we have to re-interpret the way the precautionary principle is understood in current risk assessments?

The international summer school will analyse and discuss corresponding scientific, legal and ethical questions not least by comparing the ongoing debates in Germany and the United Kingdom. This comparison is of particular interest since the political discussions, ethical evaluations and the juridical frameworks in the two states can be considered as counterparts. In addition, contrasting the situation in Europe and in the USA will reveal the arguments offered in favour of and against the need for labelling.

The summer school will discuss current debates about the use of Genome Editing in agriculture through an international and multi-disciplinary dialogue. The aim is to develop recommendations for more consistent ethical evaluation and legal framing. For these purposes, the summer school invites young scientists from the fields of molecular biology and agricultural sciences as well as politics, law, sociology and philosophy/ethics.

Main areas

The programme includes talks of the participants and of a team of high profile experts from different disciplines in the field. During the five-day summer school, the main topics will be discussed in four distinct sessions offering the following scientific, legal and ethical/societal perspectives:

  • I. Regulating new breeding technologies for plants and animals: A comparison between the debate in the United Kingdom and Germany
  • II. Legal aspects of Genome Editing: Differences between a process-based and an outcome-based regulation
  • III. Societal and ethical implications of the precautionary principle facing intended and off-target effects
  • IV. Using food labels to cope with uncertainty in risk discussions

These main topics can be understood as the framework of the programme. Abstracts/Papers should address one or more of the mentioned issues. However, there is also the possibility to choose a different topic. In such a case (or in case of doubts), please contact the organizers.

Call for Abstracts

We invite up to 15 young researchers from all areas of the field to present and discuss their work within an interdisciplinary group of young scientists and a team of high profile experts from different disciplines.

Travel expenses will be reimbursed. Accommodation and meals are provided by the summer school. An expense allowance of 300,- Euro will be paid to each participant.


- Abstract (about 400 words)
- CV + List of publications

Please send your application until 31 March 2017* to Christian.duernberger[at]

* We got already quite a few submissions, but prolonge the deadline since we want to strengthen the interdisciplinarity. All disciplines are still invited to submit an abstract, in particular we are looking for texts from the fields of Philosophy, Ethics, Theology and Sociology. Also abstracts comparing England and Germany are highly welcome.

Procedure at a glance

1. Submission of abstracts
2. Evaluation of abstracts by organizers + external experts
3. Applicants will be informed of the success of their application
4. Invited participants develop a full paper (for the planned anthology)
5. Summer School
6. Participants revise their papers
7. Publication

For more information click "Further official information" below.

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