This international conference will explore how synthetic biology, a rapidly emerging scientific field, is constructed as an interdisciplinary assemblage involving diverse fields such as molecular biology, engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, sociology, computer science, etc. What roles are the scientific disciplines involved supposed to play? How is synthetic biology structured around interdisciplinary conceptions of research? What are the planned collaborations between the natural sciences and the social sciences? We aim to provide some answers to these questions by studying specific cases of projects (be they initiated by the government or the industry), which require different actors to re-elaborate their frames of interdisciplinary collaboration in two key areas for the future: medicine and environmental protection.
The idea is thus to address the issue of interdisciplinarity from a prospective approach. Based on the concrete problems that scientists want to solve, the aim is to highlight how objectives, constraints (economic, political or ethical), and new forms of organization for collaborations and for the transmission of knowledge are articulated. New prospects for the manufacturing of life are not just related to new technical possibilities, they also involve a reconfiguration of the social and institutional fabric of science and, in doing so, its conceptual and methodological frameworks. In the United Kingdom and the United States, for instance, a dedicated science policy aimed at structuring synthetic biology already manifests its effects. We can observe the establishment of research centres, often involving the social sciences, the creation of specialized masters and new jobs, a reflection on industrial applications, and the launch of public debates and a particular emphasis on ethical and legal questions via notions such as “responsible innovation”.
In France, recent reports from the National Strategy for Research and Innovation (2011) and the Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST, 2012) reveal the government’s willingness to fully engage in the field. Interdisciplinarity, according to the OPECST is “necessary” and a “genuine requirement” and synthetic biology “therefore requires a new approach to training but also to the organization of the research itself and, finally, industrial organization.” It is within these contexts of transformation, both epistemic and institutional, that we want to initiate a collective reflection among researchers from diverse backgrounds.
Organisers : Morgan Meyer (Agro ParisTech), Ludovic Jullien (ENS, UPMC)
Dates: 23-24 June 2014
Location: Amphi Tisserand, AgroParisTech; 16, rue Claude Bernard, 75005, Paris.
Registration is compulsory but free. For more information, please contact: Fabien Provost (firstname.lastname@example.org)
23th June 2014
8 :30-9 :00 : Reception of the attendees
9 :00-9 :15 : Introduction by the organizers : Ludovic Jullien, Morgan Meyer
9 :15-10 :00 : Romain Koszul, Institut Pasteur
Optimizing yeast chromosomes for basic and applied experimentations
10 :00-10 :45 : Philippe Seksik, UPMC
The ecological scale : the gut microbiota experience
10 :45-11 :15 : Coffee-Break
11 :15-12 :00 : Damien Baigl, ENS, UPMC
The triggerable and programmable softness of synthetic biological systems
12 :00-12 :45 : Thomas Heams, Agro ParisTech
Directed evolution in synthetic biology: a new black box in the realm of rational design?
12 :45-14:15 : Lunch
14 :15-15 :00 : Dominique Zeliszewski, Université d’Evry-Val-d’Essonne, Genopole
Insights into some interdisciplinary educational approaches in synthetic biology
15:00-15:45: Denis Thieffry, ENS, France
Interdisciplinary training in Life Science at ENS
15 :45-16 :30 : Dirk Stemerding, Rathenau Instituut
iGEM synthetic biology student competition as a laboratory for responsible innovation
16 :00-16 :30 : Coffee Break
Industry and applications
16 :30-17 :15 : Frédéric Pâques, Global BioEnergies
Direct fermentation for Isobutene, Butadiene and Propylene production: a highway to renewable plastics, synthetic rubber and fuels
17:15-18:00: Michel Manach, Toulouse White Biotechnology
Toulouse White Biotechnology: a unique interface between academic research and industrial implementation
19 :30 : Diner with the speakers and the organizers
24th June 2014
Relations between science and society
9 :15-10 :00 : Anthony Stavrianakis, EHESS
Science & Fabrications: On synthetic biology
10 :00-10 :45 : Emma Frow, University of Edinburgh
Disciplining the social sciences in synthetic biology
10 :45-11 :15 : Coffee-Break
11 :15-12 :00 : Susan Molyneux-Hodgson, University of Sheffield
Developing synthetic biology applications for industry: a sociological analysis
12 :00-12 :45 : Ana Nordberg, University of Copenhagen
Legal challenges of synthetic biology: integrating interdisciplinary elements in legal thinking
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