Technologies émergentes

Global Forum on Biotechnology: The Evolving Promise of the Life Sciences


The OECD and the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum jointly organised a one-day Forum on 12 November 2012 in Paris. The event was both retrospective and forward-looking. The Forum concluded that the promise of biotechnology is not set but evolves with fresh scientific knowledge, novel laws and regulations and that the future of biotechnology needs to also integrate social and cultural dimensions.


12 November 2012

 Opening and welcome remarks

  • Gerardo JIMÉNEZ-SÁNCHEZ,Chairman of the OECD Working Party on Biotechnology
  • Steve YEARLEY, ESRC Genomics Forum, United Kingdom

Keynote Address: The 21st Century - The Age of Biology

  • Anne GLOVER,Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission

Plenary One

Retrospective: The Role of Expectations in Biotech Developments

This session will seek to understand the economic and social expectations of biotech over the last 30 years and review how these expectations have shaped the policy and research agenda. Speakers will reflect on the extent to which expectations have been met, surpassed or confounded. The session will conclude by considering the futures for biotechnology and examine any conflicting expectations.

Plenary Two

Health and Biomedicine in an Age of Convergence

This session will focus on two main sorts of anticipated developments in health and medicine. There is first the healthcare-related promise of innovative technologies such as synthetic biology, which envisage – for example – programmable biological materials and novel means for drug delivery within the body. Second, there are expectations that genomics will converge with bioinformatics to offer increasingly applicable understandings to promote public health.

Plenary Three

Biotechnology of the Future: Industrial Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology

Late 20th-century entrepreneurial visions of a biotechnological future typically placed a lot of emphasis on bioplastics and bio-based chemicals, but this vision was at odds with mainstream developments in biotechnology, at least in the “global north”. Brazil, with its Pró-Álcool scheme, exemplifies a different story. Speakers in this session will identify changing present-day expectations for industrial biotech and consider these expectations in a global framework.

Plenary Four

Marine Biotechnology: Legal, Scientific and IP Issues

The value of marine resources and the special status of the World’s oceans as a form of “commons” have long been recognised, but it is only recently that the biotechnological and genomic potential of the oceans has been appreciated. This session will build on recent OECD work in marine-biotech, looking in an integrated way at the legal-regulatory, scientific and commercial aspects of the various forms of bio-value in the marine environment.

  • Chair: Steinar BERGSETH, The Research Council of Norway, Norway
  • David LEARY, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • Lyle GLOWKA, Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme, Canada
  • Kattia ROSALES, National Biodiversity Institute INBIO, Costa Rica
  • Rachael RITCHIE, University of British Columbia, Canada

Plenary Five

Emerging Pathogens in the Environment

As the socio-economic importance of the bio-sector grows, so will the emergence and significance of pathogens. This session will focus on new plant, animal and human pathogens, including hybridisation between native and exotic pathogens; on emerging understandings of pathogen interaction in agricultural and forestry habitats; on the links between disease and environmental change; and on the design of regulatory measures and those measures’ interactions with trade.

Chair: David INGRAM, University of Edinburgh and Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Closing Debate

Chair: Steve YEARLEY, ESRC Genomics Forum, United Kingdom


  • Gerardo JIMÉNEZ-SÁNCHEZ, OECD, WPB Chairman
  • Kattia ROSALES, National Biodiversity Institute INBIO, Costa Rica
  • Rachael RITCHIE, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • David WIELD, Innogen, United Kingdom
  • Vicki SEYFERT-MARGOLIS, FDA, United States