Project news

February 3, 2014

Wilson Center Participating in UK Synthetic Biology Initiative

The Synthetic Biology Project is participating in a new capacity-building initiative in the United Kingdom, where the government is spending more than $66 million to encourage synthetic biology research in the country.

The project will work with the OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre, based at Cambridge University, on governance and other issues surrounding the emerging technology. The OpenPlant center is one of three new multidisciplinary research centers established as part of the initiative by the government’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The centers, which were announced on Jan. 30 by Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, will seek to increase the UK’s capacity in the field of synthetic biology. The Synthetic Biology Project hopes to contribute perspectives and expertise on governance and public perception of the technology.

In a statement, Willets said synthetic biology “is one of the most promising areas of modern science.” He continued, “Synthetic biology has the potential to drive economic growth but still remains relatively untapped and these new centers will ensure that the United Kingdom is at the forefront when it comes to commercializing these new technologies."

Other U.S. partners in the initiative include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the BioBricks Foundation.

The Synthetic Biology Project is part of the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Read more about the new initiative here.