Innovating research, policy and education in synthetic and systems biology

Centre hosts future trends workshop

A group of 50 leading synthetic biologists gathered at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (see image) in Edinburgh on May 16 and 17 to discuss ‘Future Trends in Synthetic Biology.’

Hosted by the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology the purpose of the 2-day workshop was to discuss and report on current research progress in the field of synthetic biology, and discern focal points for future, related disruptive technologies and applications. The workshop was an invitation-only, closed-door event to provide an opportunity for participants to discuss their perspective without bias.

During the event there was animated discussion around a range of topics, from the application of synthetic biology to accelerate the production of high value chemicals, materials and medicines, through to heated debate on issues such as proportionate governance, biosecurity and ethics. At the end, delegates discussed what measures might be needed to help move synthetic biology to the next levels. Issues such as universal standards, identify ‘grand challenges’ focusing the community on a shared goal, and coordinating all relevant stakeholders were discussed.

A white paper discussing the discussion of the meeting and its recommendation will be shared with the community when completed.

The Centre would like to thanks the US Office of Naval Research Global and the Department of Homeland Security for sponsoring this event and in particular to Dr Patrick Rose (ONR Global) for all his support with its organisation and delivery.