Science and Technology Innovation Program
Press coverage of synthetic biology in the United States and Europe increased significantly between 2008 and 2011. This report builds on the project’s earlier study of press coverage in the United States and Europe during the 2003-2008 period. The new report finds an increase in the sheer number of articles about synthetic biology. It further finds that this coverage is driven by high-profile events and that there are growing similarities in how the technology is covered in the United States and Europe. This report also highlights key recommendations from recent reports focused on the press and public engagement.
Deborah Johnson, Director, Program in Philosophy, Science and Technology; School of Public Policy; Georgia Institute of Technology
The Synthetic Biology Project aims to foster informed public and policy discourse concerning the advancement of synthetic biology – an emerging interdisciplinary field that uses advanced science and engineering to make or re-design living organisms, such as bacteria, so they can carry out specific functions. Synthetic biology involves making new genetic code, also known as DNA, which does not already exist in nature. The project provides independent, rigorous analysis that can inform critical decisions affecting the research, commercialization and use of synthetic biology. Its objective is to help ensure that, as synthetic biology moves forward, possible risks are minimized and benefits maximized. For more information, please visit: http://www.synbioproject.org.
This white paper describes a groundbreaking system of citizen science projects by the U.S. Geological Survey and other scientific institutions to detect and monitor earthquakes and engage the public in scientific research about seismic events. These approaches seek to provide a more robust earthquake alert network and generate more real-time motion data. The paper also looks at how future efforts could be improved. Successful crowdsourcing projects at the federal level must navigate a web of practical, legal and policy considerations. This paper identifies some of these hurdles and provides lessons learned so that others may apply them to their unique missions.