Science and Technology Innovation Program


The Art of Synthetic Biology Governance: Considering the Concepts of Scientific Uncertainty and Cross-Borderness

March 27, 2012 // 12:00pm2:00pm
Podcast (Audio-only): 
Loading media player...


Governments around the world are considering how to regulate synthetic biology in an effort to maximize the benefits of the emerging technology while minimizing the risks.


But it is crucial for any governance of the technology to address the concepts of “scientific uncertainty” and “cross-borderness,” according to a new working paper from the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society (BIOS).


The authors of the paper, The Transnational Governance of Synthetic Biology: Scientific Uncertainty, Cross-Borderness and the ‘Art’ of Governance, argue that the implications of synthetic biology are “not only difficult to predict but are fundamentally unknowable.” Further, they stress the concept of cross-borderness -- the need for strong inter-relations between geopolitical regions, academics disciplines and industrial sectors.


To best consider these concepts, the authors recommend a “flexible and evolving ‘art of governance’” for synthetic biology, which would allow for communication between key actors and ensure that stakeholders are able to express their perspectives. The authors base their conclusions on an extensive literature review and work in the United Kingdom, China and Japan.



5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
    Back to top

    Experts & Staff

    Wilson Center Photo Gallery

    Browse or share photos from the Wilson Center’s events.

    To Attend an Event

    Unless otherwise noted:

    Meetings listed on this page are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required unless otherwise noted. All meetings take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Please see map and directions. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry.

    To confirm time and place, contact Maria-Stella Gatzoulis on the day of the event: tel. (202) 691-4188. Check this page for the latest updates and notices.