International Summer School - BEYOND THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE? Ethical, legal and societal aspects of genome editing in agriculture

Below you find all relevant information about the International Summer School "Beyond Precautionary Principle?", funded by BMBF, organized by Institute TTN. The Summer School will take place from 2 October (Monday) - 6 October (Friday) 2017 at Studienhaus Gut Schönwag near Munich. Young scientists are invited to diskuss with following experts: Alexander Bogner, Hans-Georg Dederer, Angela Kallhof, Joachim Schiemann and Lynn Frewer

Project period: 1 October 2016 - 1 October 2018

Subject - Beyond Precautionary Principle?

Recent advances in Genome Editing for agricultural purposes pose general questions in a new light: How should we regulate new breeding technologies for plants and livestock in a scientific way? What are the legal, societal and ethical backgrounds of the current food labelling practice in different countries, especially in Germany and the United Kingdom? Is food labelling an appropriate strategy to cope with uncertainty in risk discussions? Which alternatives could be suitable to respond to the specific protection needs of people, animals and the environment? Do we have to re-interpret the way the precautionary principle is understood in current risk assessments?

The international summer school will analyse and discuss corresponding scientific, legal and ethical questions not least by comparing the ongoing debates in Germany and the United Kingdom. This comparison is of particular interest since the political discussions, ethical evaluations and the juridical frameworks in the two states can be considered as counterparts. In addition, contrasting the situation in Europe and in the USA will reveal the arguments offered in favour of and against the need for labelling.

The summer school will discuss current debates about the use of Genome Editing in agriculture through an international and multi-disciplinary dialogue. The aim is to develop recommendations for more consistent ethical evaluation and legal framing. For these purposes, the summer school invites young scientists from the fields of molecular biology and agricultural sciences as well as politics, law, sociology and philosophy/ethics.

Main areas

The programme includes talks of the participants and of a team of high profile experts from different disciplines in the field. During the five-day summer school, the main topics will be discussed in four distinct sessions offering the following scientific, legal and ethical/societal perspectives:

    I. Regulating new breeding technologies for plants and animals: A comparison between the debate in the United Kingdom and Germany
    II. Legal aspects of Genome Editing: Differences between a process-based and an outcome-based regulation
    III. Societal and ethical implications of the precautionary principle facing intended and off-target effects
    IV. Using food labels to cope with uncertainty in risk discussions

These main topics can be understood as the framework of the programme. Abstracts/Papers should address one or more of the mentioned issues. However, there is also the possibility to choose a different topic. In such a case (or in case of doubts), please contact the organizers.

Call for Abstracts

We invite up to 15 young researchers from all areas of the field to present and discuss their work within an interdisciplinary group of young scientists and a team of high profile experts from different disciplines.

Travel expenses will be reimbursed. Accommodation and meals are provided by the summer school. An expense allowance of 300,- Euro will be paid to each participant.

- Abstract (about 400 words)
- CV + List of publications

Please send your application until 31 March 2017 to Christian.duernberger[at]

Procedure at a glance

1. Submission of abstracts
2. Evaluation of abstracts by organizers + external experts
3. Applicants will be informed of the success of their application
4. Invited participants develop a full paper (for the planned anthology)
5. Summer School
6. Participants revise their papers
7. Publication*

* Although it is planned that the paper of every participant will be published in the antholgy, the organisers reserve the right to reject a paper if it does not meet the quality requirements.

During the summer school, scientific experts will present and discuss fundamental aspects of the daily session. The following list of experts corresponds to the main areas.

Experts who have already confirmed their attendance:

PD Dr. Alexander Bogner, Senior Sociologist at the ITA, Vienna. He was visiting scholar at the University of Basel, at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, at The Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt am Main and at the California State University in Sacramento and he held an assistant professorship at the Institute of Social Ecology of the Alps-Adria-University of Klagenfurt.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Dederer, Lehrstuhl für Staats- und Verwaltungsrecht, Völkerrecht, Europäisches und Internationales Wirtschaftsrecht, Universität Passau

Prof. Dr Lynn Frewer, Professor of Food & Society, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University

Prof. Dr. Angela Kallhoff, Professor of Ethics with Special Emphasis on Applied Ethics, University of Vienna, Austria, Faculty of Philosophy and Education.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Schiemann, Former Head of the Institute for Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology at the Julius Kühn Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Quedlinburg


Important Appointments

Submission of abstracts (deadline): 31 March 2017
Submission of papers (deadline): 1 September 2017
Summer School: 2 October (Monday) - 6 October (Friday) 2017 [Arrival possible: 1 October (Sunday), after 7 pm]
Conference Language: English

Stephan Schleissing, Christian Dürnberger, Sebastian Pfeilmeier