Professor Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, speaking on behalf of all four funding Research Councils, said: The UK has world-class bioscience and engineering communities and our aim is to build capacity for a world-leading UK synthetic biology research community quickly. Synthetic biology has huge potential to help us both further our understanding of natural biological systems and also develop new biologically-based systems to tackle future challenges. The four Research Councils working together in this initiative shows that the future of Synthetic Biology in the UK relies not only on bringing together biologists and engineers but also on ensuring that the societal issues are considered from the start.
Dr Brian Johnson, Chair of BBSRCs Bioscience for Society sub-group on synthetic biology, commented on the ethical and social considerations of this area of science: BBSRC has already set up a group to gain insight into public attitudes when setting research priorities in synthetic biology. We think it is important that scientists and research funders are aware of the wider social and ethical issues surrounding synthetic biology. From events that we and others have held recently, we are confident that UK scientists will address such issues when planning and carrying out research involving synthetic biology.
The Research Councils are working closely together through the Research Councils UK partnership, to address social and ethical issues and to encourage constructive public engagement around the science and the opportunities that it offers. The Research Councils are committed to working with the Royal Society and other stakeholders in the field of synthetic biology.
|Contact: Matt Goode|
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council