Research Group of Peter Dabrock
Ethical and social challenges within Synthetic Biology: Ontologies of life, public perceptions and governance issues
Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU), Erlangen-Nuremberg
Synthetic Biology as one of the currently leading fields of so-called emerging biotechnologies does not only promise new scientific insights into the organization of complex living organisms as well as possible applications for societal challenges but does also evoke several ethical, societal, and governmental challenges. The group of Peter Dabrock at FAU has a long-term experience in investigating and evaluating ethical and social issues associated with scientific and technological innovation at the interface between science and society. Within the project on the one hand we focus on ethical questions colligated with synthetic biology by investigating public and scientific perceptions of synthetic biology as well as the role of philosophical and theological concepts in dealing with processes of developing a synthetic cell. On the other hand, we work on societal and especially participatory questions linked with the roots of synthetic biology as a part of the Do-it-Yourself-Biology movement as well as a citizen’s science approach in order to figure out modes of public engagement within science and technology. Based on the findings of the ongoing monitoring, theoretical modelling and empirical ground work the project aims at developing modes for a governmental frame of responsible research and innovation in synthetic biology.