Reflections on Disruptive Innovation (BrisSynBioEthics – Long Read)

Disruptive innovation is an idea that contains within it a distinct attitude towards the sociotechnical world. It is a way to think about technology that corresponds with standards and expectations that direct technological society towards particular ends while simultaneously foregoing other ends. Disruptive innovation has captured the popular imagination of tech enthusiasts. Slogans like ‘disrupt…

Genetic resources in the age of the Nagoya Protocol and gene/genome synthesis

Deborah Scott (Edinburgh) and Dominic Berry (LSE) have co-authored a workshop report on “Genetic resources in the age of the Nagoya Protocol and gene/genome synthesis”.  The workshop was organised as a collaboration between the Engineering Life project (ERC 616510-ENLIFE) of the University of Edinburgh and OpenPlant (BBSRC and EPSRC BB/L014130/1) of the University of Cambridge,…

What kind of biology is synthetic biology?

Massimiliano Simons (University of Leuven) reflects on his time chasing birds and biologists in the hilly wilds of Bristol and asks: what biology should we teach our kids? When I first arrived in mountainous Bristol from the Flemish flatlands I expected to be studying biologists, not climbing hills. Yet, for a significant part of the day I…

Not much new under the sun: a brief history of responsible innovation

Danielle Shanley (Maastricht University) casts a rearward glance at “Responsible Innovation” Innovation is everywhere. Companies must constantly innovate to get ahead of the competition; individuals should be ‘innovative’ in order to stand out from the crowd, even nation states talk of innovation as a way of framing their economic policies. Innovation really has become ‘the…

Deliberating Synthetic Biology…help wanted!

Serious reflection on Research and Responsible Innovation (RRI) is, let’s face it, a pretty tricky thing for scientific researchers to engage in. As I write this I’m also attending a conference on public engagement (PE) as part of RRI within the context of Horizon2020 – even that is a bit of a mouthful and a…

Nature and Value.

Is nature inherently valuable? Philosopher Alison Assiter argues yes.