Biosafety Course and Conference: Hazard ID and Risk Assessment of (Trans)gene Flow
Course: 17–21 August 2009
Conference: 23-26 August 2009
Venue: GenØk – Centre for Biosafety, Science Park/University of Tromsø/Rica Ishavshotel, Norway
The course will cover:
• a holistic and heuristic approach to risk assessment
• hazard identification
• molecular analyses for predicting flow and its consequences
• pathways of gene flow (microbes, plants and animals)
• introgression pathways
• persistence pathways (selection, linkage, propagule pressure, scale)
• biodiversity and agrobiodiversity
• conservation issues and centres of origin
• consequences of gene flow
o human and animal health impacts
o legal/cultural/social/economic issues
o containment and monitoring
o biological (GURTs)
• weighing up the costs and benefits of a GMO agroecosystem
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety seeks to protect human health and biodiversity from the potential hazards 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, and a holistic understanding of the policy, legal, regulatory, ethical, economic and social dimensions, which is necessary for decision making. In the past 5 years a broad introductory course on hazard identification , risk assessment and biosafety regulation has been offered to fill the capacity gap. Bi-annually over the next 5 years, specialist courses with advanced material will be offered to build beyond the introductory course.
About the course
A critical issue facing most countries is how to manage the coexistence of agroecosystems that use GMOs and those that do not. The flow of transgenes between these different ecosystems—whether within a country or between countries—threatens the non-GMO farmer and consumer that wishes to avoid genetically modified (GM) products. This course will consider the issues created by transgene flow in depth.
The course is designed to provide policy makers, regulators, scientists, journalists 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 transgene flow and coexistence. The goal is to empower the participants with balanced information on transgene flow, in order to fairly, yet critically, evaluate the issue from their own perspective and country needs. A combination of plenary lectures and interactive sessions, with support from the Biosafety Assessment Tool will form the basis of the course, which aims to offer biosafety capacity building within a holistic framework. Participants will also attend the conference immediately following the Course (23-26 August).
Eligibility and selection process
This course is open to applicants from developing (ODA) countries that have successfully completed one of GenØk’s introductory courses in biosafety (2003-2008), as well as to those who can demonstrate relevant expertise and experience in biosafety work.
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. Applicants for a place in the course must also submit a short abstract related to the topics of the course from which they may be chosen to present a poster or a talk at the associated conference. 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.
Gender, occupation and regional criteria are 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 2009.
Costs and expenses
Full sponsorship will be offered to 40 selected applicants from developing (ODA) countries. The sponsorship will cover curricular materials, course-associated travel, visa-fees, accommodation and meals.
Course + conference - self-financed participants
The course has additional 15 places available to participants from all countries that are able to secure their own sponsorship/funding. Previous participation in a GenØk course is not required, but we recommend that the candidate should have extensive experience and expertise in biosafety work in order to benefit fully from the course and conference. The course/conference fee of USD 1000 includes curricular materials, lunch (8 days), opening/farewell ceremony, conference fee, and local transport. In addition, self-financing participants will also have to pay for their travel and accommodation (course/conference hotel NOK 1195/night (approx. US $170) incl. breakfast and dinner buffet). A list of alternative accommodation can be provided. Applications for self-financed places should be submitted no later than 10 June 2009. The places are allocated on a first come first served basis. Participants must be prepared to pay the course fee when registering.
Conference only – self-financed participants
The conference is open to all. For more information and registration see our website www.genok.org where information soon will be announced.
How to apply:
CV and abstracts should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Receipt of application forms will be confirmed by e-mail. Please allow us a few days to repspond.
Further information about ODA-countries: www.oecd.org/dac/stats/daclist