Synthetic biology is no longer confined to the laboratory, and there is much to be done regarding the context in which it is developed and applied. The only way to reach a sustainable bioeconomy is to integrate all involved parties and foster an open discussion.
Beyond genes and pipettes, there is an array of players that interact with new scientific developments, setting their goals as well as their boundaries, and having the power to amplify them exponentially or stall them completely. Synthetic biology continues to integrate itself into the very fabric of society. Both the bio and tech communities must come together to discuss what synthetic biology looks like beyond the lab bench, and how they will interact with the world they research.
Communicating correctly what synthetic biology is and what it can do has become paramount to not only find societal acceptance but also to inspire new generations of engineers and scientists, update public policies to keep up with the speed of development, and drive funding and brilliant innovators to the causes that matter. An open discussion among all involved parties — those creating, funding, regulating and using it — must be fostered and maintained in order to develop the sound bioeconomy that our technical progress has already enabled.
Key Issues & Questions
Reimagining Education, Changing the Culture within Science
- How should we educate the scientists of the future?
- What’s the responsibility of the synthetic biology community in public debate, and how should scientists get involved in social issues?
Science, Politics and Biosecurity
- How are we managing biosecurity both at a national and a global level?
- What new risks have emerged from the development of synthetic biology?
- How can the synthetic biology community get progressively more involved in public policy?
National Initiatives in Synthetic Biology
- How shall the synthetic biology community work with and for the benefit of people outside San Francisco and Boston?
- What national initiatives on synthetic biology will contribute to its popularization and increased engagement from the public?
- What examples of initiatives worldwide have produced the most impact?
2018 Is Not 2008, Why Biology Is Recession-Resistant
- What are the differences between the synthetic biology field today and the synthetic biology field ten years ago?
- What are the differences between the social-political-economic paradigm today and ten years ago?
Biology is Not Another App: Investing in What Matters
- What are the trends in tech investment and how have they matched up to bio investment?
- Is purpose increasingly shaping scientific and tech development?
- Is impact driven investment part of the society trend of realigning business priorities? How will this shape the selective pressure of science investment?
Consumer Brands and Biology
- How can food manufacturers, restaurants and brands keep up with this fast moving industry?
- How can biology be used to enhance your brand?
DIYBio and the Homebrew Computer Club
- How are movements like biohacking and citizen science changing the development landscape for biology?
- Should DIYBio be regulated?
How to Biologize Industry: What’s your Bio Strategy?
- What does the global bioeconomy look like in 5, 10 or 20 years?
- How will biology change other industries? How will the industrial landscape interact with biology?
What’s the Future and How to Innovate Innovation Itself
- Which technological area and social area will most likely be impacted by synthetic biology in the coming years?
- What key aspects of bioeconomy need to change in order to close the gap between technological innovation and commercialization?
- How can we accelerate both the rate of innovation and the rate of innovation adoption?
Holistic Health for Scientists
- Why scientists and engineers need to learn about holistic health? Is this part of a larger trend reflecting the realignment of social priorities and business narratives?
- What key aspects and selective pressure within our field must be changed in order to boost scientists’ overall wellbeing?
- How can positive psychology and holistic health benefit the scientific community?