Policy translation

Last changed: 06 July 2017

This sub-project encompasses the entire research programme and involves researchers from all our disciplines. The project also involves different external stakeholders, so that those who are affected by future decisions in the area participate in the work

We base the conclusions on all research within Mistra Biotech and summarise the information from both natural sciences, ethics, and social sciences. These conclusions can be used as a decision-making basis, primarily by public decision-makers in Sweden, but also by decision-makers within industry, environmental organisations and within the EU. The work in this sub-project will be at its most intense during Mistra Biotech’s last years, with focus on: 

1. Changed conditions for biotechnology in agriculture
There are factors, both within science and in society in general, that may change the conditions for policy decisions within the field of biotechnology in the near future. Some of these factors are: 

  • New advances in biotechnology
  • The traceability of genetic changes – development of tools that can detect these changes
  • Development of new plant varieties using biotechnology, especially varieties      that have benefits for consumers
  • "Biohacking” and the reactions of the general public
  • New international trade agreements
  • Increased application of biotechnology in plant and animal breeding outside Europe
  • New EU legislation, which for example gives individual countries the opportunity to prohibit the use of GM products approved at EU level
  • Changed economic conditions for Swedish agriculture
  • Increased knowledge concerning gene technology among the general public thanks to applications within medicine
  • Changes in public opinion

2. Policy options
Policy discussions regarding biotechnology usually concern the GMO products’ existence or otherwise. Changes both in society and within science make this simplified framing of the question increasingly inadequate. Policy decisions concerning biotechnology can be organised and structured in several ways. Decision-makers may need to think “outside the box” and consider other regulations and legislation than those currently in force. We identify a number of policy options and discuss the consequences of each and every one of them. Examples of what we analyse: 

  • Distribution of decision-making powers between the EU, its member states and their consumers
  • Requirements for labelling
  • Routes to market for products developed using biotechnology alongside the traditional: farmer → food industry → wholesalers → retailers → consumer
  • The legislation in respect of agricultural crops in general (regardless of whether they are GMO or not)
  • Financing of plant breeding
  • Possibilities for participant-driven plant breeding (breeding projects in which farmers are given a more active role)
  • Usability analyses to supplement risk analyses of GMO
  • The division of types of crops into more groups than the two groups GMO and non-GMO

3. Effects of policy decisions
We will be analysing the effects of different conceivable policy decisions, primarily within four areas: 

  • Sustainable environment
  • Economic and social sustainability (focus on rural areas and agriculture)
  • Health effects
  • International relations

Contact: Sven Ove Hansson

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