Investigating the biosafety and risk assessment needs of synthetic biology in Austria and China
Principal investigators: Dr. Markus Schmidt (IDC) and Dr. Wei Wei (IBCAS)
Funding: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). 315.000 € for the Austrian partner IDC and 400.000 RMB for the Chinese Parter IBCAS.
Duration: April 2009 to March 2012
Short description: The objective of this Sino-European project is to provide better scientific insight into the challenges synthetic biology addresses in the field of biosafety and risk assessment. This objective - we think- is best tackled from an international perspective, including central European (Austria) and Chinese collaborators. We will pursue our objectives in three different steps:
- analysing the current developments in synthetic biology and its different subfields; with a special focus on (central) Europe and China;
- investigating the biosafety implications of synthetic biology;
- review current biosafety regulations and risk assement methods and prepare recommendations to improve existing biosafety assessement frameworks.
The community has recognized the need to address safety concerns in synthetic biology, but up to now discussions are only fragmentary and rather limited to few groups in Europe and the US. Our project aims to stimulate an international debate by contributing to the establishment of a (European) - Chinese network of researchers investigating the biosafety aspects of synthetic biology.