We are a small but diverse group of synthetic biology community members interested in exploring how to positively and productively engage in issues surrounding the societal ramifications of synthetic biology. This 'working group' formed following discussions with students and postdocs at the 2011 Spring [SynBERC] retreat, but is open to anyone in the broader community interested in synthetic biology practices. We envision that members of this group could become valued advisors to, and practitioners within, [SynBERC's Practices thrust].
Vision and Goals
second pass, revisions encouraged
Even though we are compelled to think about how our individual and collective practices in synthetic biology can improve lives while avoiding potential or realized harm, we often lack the knowledge, time and incentives to carefully consider how we interact with society in areas such as safety, security, ethics, policy, law, and communication. This working group attempts to address this gap with two broad goals:
(1) create an ongoing open monthly forum for 'expert' discussion relating to the development of synthetic biology and its societal ramifications
(2) produce materials and activities in which we can share outcomes, conclusions and recommendations from our discussions with both the broader synthetic biology community and the public-at-large, and, through these communications, become an authoritative source for synthetic biology practices