Members of the GYA Working Group ‘DIY Synthetic Biology’ conceived an interactive mini-hackathon focused on approaches to predict and address security risks associated with technological progress in the field of genome editing. With the support of the Volkswagen Foundation, this event was held before the  international workshop ‘Assessing the Security Implications of Genome Editing Technology’ in Hanover, Germany from 12-13 October.

The hackathon was a first of its kind pilot event to assist the development of science policy for the rapidly advancing field of genome editing. In an informal game-like setting, 25 hackathon participants, including researchers, policy makers and security professionals, were given the opportunity to brainstorm and exchange ideas about the future national and international policy solutions to potential future security challenges posed by genome editing applications, with the help of six world-leading experts in the various aspects of the genome editing who served as facilitators. A primary goal of the hackathon was to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative mechanisms to assess potential security risks, build capacity to evaluate and mitigate identified risks, and develop policy tools to counteract future problems and increase mutual trust between scientific community, policy makers, and members of the public.

A full report, including policy recommendations, will be available on the web page of the Working Group ‘DIY Synthetic Biology’.

GYA Members from left: Aftab Ahmad, Abhi Veerakumarasivam, Sasha Kagansky and Bart Kolodziejczyk, conceptualised and ran the mini-hackathon