Publication date: 18/02/2014


Synthetic biology (SynBio) raises a lot of interest in its potential applications and a lot of questions about risk, ownership and society’s relationship with nature.

In scientific circles, the process of opinion making around SynBio in full swing. However, as this report argues, this process also calls for engagement from society. Synthetic biology offers potential for novel drugs and vaccines, as well as for ‘greener’ chemicals and biofuels.

Nonetheless, this field also brings with it various challenges, ranging from regulatory issues of biosafety, biosecurity and intellectual property rights to potential environmental and socioeconomic risks and related ethical questions. It is thus essential to establish an open dialogue between stakeholders, including the public, concerning the technology’s potential benefits and risks and to explore possibilities for ‘collaborative shaping’ of the field.

This report published by the Dutch Rathenau Instituut summarises the Meeting of Young Minds, a 2011 meeting of ‘politicians of the future’ – representing Dutch Political outh Organizations, organised by the Rathenau Instituut and focused on the issue of SynBio.  Althoug,h originally published as a contribution to the Dutch debate, it also has relevance for the discussion in Europe and internationally.

Resource type: Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)