7-8 November 2008, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Systems and synthetic biology are emerging inter-related frontiers in early 21st century biology. While these new fields have generated much attention both within and outside the world of science, time now seems ripe for a concerted effort towards clarification of their scientific scope and relevance to society. This calls for an organised effort in collective thinking, among scientists and non-scientists alike, about the significance of work being done in systems/synthetic biology, the environment within which that work is being done, and the nature of any specific problem that may arise. It is our conviction that potential benefits, as well as societal, ethical and safety concerns of systems/synthetic biology should be addressed from the start, so that these new fields of science can further develop in an environment of public trust.
These are some of the main issues that will be the focus of the next inter-disciplinary EMBL/EMBO Science and Society conference in Heidelberg, Germany.