International Summer School
15 Sep 2014 – 19 Sep 2014

Analyzing the Societal Dimensions of Synthetic Biology

Venue: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum
Contact: Georg Toepfer
Research project(s): The Shifting Borders of Biology


Synthetic biology is a rapidly developing new approach to biotechnology. Its main aim is to use engineering principles to create living organisms for human use. Societal implications have been a topic from the start, but major disagreements remain regarding the appropriate frameworks for the assessment and governance of synthetic biology.

The aim of this summer school is to critically analyze different approaches to the evaluation of new techno-scientific areas, as exemplified by synthetic biology, with a particular emphasis on conceptual foundations.

Participants from all relevant fields of the social and natural sciences and arts present and discuss their own work in a genuinely interdisciplinary group of young scientists together with some of the leading experts, including: Michael Bölker, Nediljko Budisa, Ellen-Marie Forsberg, Christian Illies, and Georg Toepfer.

The summer school includes an excursion to Nediljko Budisa´s chemical synthetic biology laboratory at TU Berlin and close with the public discussion on Friday, 19 September 2014, 7:30 pm:
Synthetic Biology. Concepts, Values and Politics
Venue: ICI Kulturlabor Berlin, Christinenstr. 18/19, 10119 Berlin, Haus 8


Kristin Hagen, Margret Engelhard, Georg Toepfer (ed./eds.)

Ambivalences of Creating Life
Societal and Philosophical Dimensions of Synthetic Biology

Ethics of Science and Technology Assessment
Springer International Publishing, 2015, 335 pages
ISBN 978-3-319-21087-2 (Print) 978-3-319-21088-9 (Online)