The GenØk Centre of Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway offers a course Holistic Foundations for Assessment and Regulation of Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms. It will be held from 1 to 13 august at the science park of the University of Tromsø. There’s a sponsorship available for applicants from developing countries.
Fund: Sponsorships for applicants from developing countries
- Introduction to basic molecular biology and genetic engineering in a holistic perspective
- Environmental and health effects from GE applications/GMOs
- Socio-economic, ethical and political dimensions of GE applications/GMOs
- International law and regulatory requirements, including biosafety implementation
- Precautionary approaches and acknowledgement of scientific uncertainties
- Future and emerging GE/GMO applications
- Risk assessment case studies
- Practical laboratory sessions
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety seeks to protect human health (including food safety) and biodiversity from the potential risks created by the use and dissemination of living “Genetically Modified Organisms” (GMOs), while taking into account socio-economic considerations. Implementation of biosafety regulation is therefore the focus of many countries to establish such safeguards. However, the process of implementing the Protocol has unveiled a limited capacity for science-based hazard identification that is necessary to perform risk assessments, including a holistic understanding of the policy, legal, regulatory, ethical, economic and social dimensions, which is also lacking in many cases.
Performing credible and relevant biological risk assessments requires multi-disciplinary scientific and social scientific competence that considers the local context of GMO introductions. Each country requires the capacity for general scientific risk assessment and management, tailored to their particular environmental, health, and community needs. Moreover, there is a need to assess GMOs developed domestically, or imported purposely or accidentally from others, into the context of their special cultural, ethical, socio-economic and policy frameworks. Such initiatives will require holistic approaches to develop adequate integration of diverse issues in the regulation of GMOs.
The course is designed to provide policy makers, regulators, scientists and NGOs/civil society leaders, specifically from developing countries (ODA-countries), the knowledge and training necessary to develop a holistic view on the issues surrounding GMOs. The goal is to empower the participants with transdisciplinary information on GMOs, in order to critically evaluate the issue from their own perspective and country needs. Lectures, laboratory demonstrations, group work on case studies and discussions will form the basis of the course, which aims to offer biosafety capacity building within a holistic framework. Participants will also be required to submit a GE/GMO/biosafety country report in order to more broadly share their local experiences of the current status of GMOs/biosafety with other participants.
Eligibility and selection process
The course application form must be filled out entirely and with as much detail as possible. The applicant must provide information about the type/level of position they are holding, and state the basis for their interest in the course. In addition, a brief CV is required for consideration.
The working language of the course will be English only, and as such, applicants should be able to work sufficiently well in English in both oral and written communications.
Sponsorships will only be given to applicants from developing (ODA) countries. Gender, occupation and regional criteria are also used in the selection of participants in order to achieve representational balance. The selection committee usually completes the selection by 1 May.
Applications are due by 1 April 2010.
Costs and expenses
Full sponsorship will be offered to 40 selected applicants from developing (ODA) countries only. The sponsorship will cover curricular materials, course-associated travel, visa-fees, accommodation and meals.
The course has 15 places available to participants from all countries that are able to secure their own sponsorship/funding. The course fee of $1200 USD includes curricular materials, lunch (12 days), opening/farewell ceremony and local transport. In addition, self-financing participants will also have to pay for their travel and accommodation (course hotel is NOK 1195/night (approx. US $200) incl. breakfast and dinner buffet, other accommodation options are available). Registration deadline for self-sponsored participants is 1 June 2010. The places are allocated on a first come first served basis. Participants must be prepared to pay course fee when registering. They don’t accept payment upon arrival.
Further information can be found here.