Marsilius Academy on Synthetic Biology
23 April 2014
New research approaches in the field of synthetic biology are the focus of this year’s Summer Academy organised by the Marsilius Kolleg, Heidelberg University’s Centre of Advanced Studies. At the academy taking place in September 2014, young academics and doctoral students will have the opportunity to discuss relevant topics with established international experts on the subject. Alongside the biological aspects involved, economic, legal and ethical issues will be on the agenda, notably security matters and potential abuse. The deadline for young researchers from the natural sciences and the humanities with an interest in applying for admission to the Summer Academy, entitled “Synthetic Biology – Promises and Risks of Modern Biotechnology”, is 31 May 2014.
According to the organisers of the academy, synthetic biology can be seen as the logical development of an approach to evolutionary biology that sets out to systematically exploit and combine the properties of biological systems on the basis of findings produced by molecular biology and genome research. In their exchanges with the experts, the 20 participants will inquire into the promises held out by synthetic biology and reflect on whether the risks implicit in it may not be of a different kind from those encountered in previous research approaches. They will also be discussing how the societal and ecological repercussions of research and application in this field can be accurately assessed at an early stage. On the list of speakers, scholars and scientists from Heidelberg University are joined by experts from other universities. The event is funded by BASF SE.
The Marsilius Summer Academy “Synthetic Biology – Promises and Risks of Modern Biotechnology” takes place at the Trifels Encounter Centre (Begegnungszentrum Trifels) from 1 to 5 September 2014. Together with Darmstadt and Kaiserslautern Technical Universities, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Mannheim, Heidelberg University is one of the co-founders of an association for the support of ongoing and continuing education in science, scholarship and research named after this centre. The establishment of the association, which also supports the academy, is the product of an initiative by entrepreneur Albrecht Hornbach, who purchased the premises from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in autumn 2010. This year’s Marsilius Academy is at the same time the starter for a new series of summer schools supported by the Trifels Association. The Kurhaus in Trifels will be the location for all these events.