Public voices in plant genomics

Public voices in plant genomics

Does the Societal Interface Group of the Centre for Biosystems Genomics provide an institutional framework that facilitates upstream engagement in agendasetting and downstream engagement in policy formulation in the CBSG context?

Duration: March 2009 - January 2010  

The Centre for BioSystems Genomics (CBSG) is an international consortium of plant scientists. The CBSG has made use of a soundboard group with representatives from society, a so-called Societal Interface Group (SIG). From 205-2007, the SIG has met met five times, each time with different members of the CBSG management team attending. This makes the group more than just a soundboard group, recommendations are directly supported by the CBSG management. 

This research project has evaluated those meetings in an academic context. The project offers a versatile view of the possibilities for public participation in genomics and focuses on the options for the SIG as instrument for public participation in genomics. 

Using a literature study and interviews with experts, the evaluation criteria for the SIG were determined. By interviewing the members of the SIG with both open and closed questions, the researchers determined whether the SIG has met the conditions for public participation. The researchers conclude that the SIG may be considered as a new approach in the field of Public Understanding of Science. The meetings of the SIG are successful, but the visibility of the results of the SIG in the policy process of CBSG has been low. The researchers advise some improving adaptations for continuation of the SIG.