Emerging technologies


The Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT) is focused on policy issues in emerging technology fields related to bio, nano and converging technologies. It aims to contribute original policy analysis and messages to the global community, to convene key stakeholders in the field, and to make ground-breaking proposals to policy makers. Themes include:

  • The bioeconomy and sustainability solutions: Realising the promise of converging technologies to enable the bioeconomy, the circular economy, and the transition to better patterns of resource use.
  • Health innovation: Advancing the discoveries, translation and commercial development of new therapies and solutions to promote human health and well-being, e.g. in brain disorders and personalised medicine. 
  • Good governance of technology: Developing norms on responsible innovation, supporting stronger engagements of science and society, enhancing the benefits and minimizing the risks of technology.


Collaborative Platforms to Enable Converging Technology

The BNCT is currently conducting a project to support policy makers and innovators in realising the potential of well-designed collaborative platforms to advance emerging technologies. Multiple case studies of collaborative platforms are being analysed to identify trends and best practices in three technological fields: genomics and biobanks for personalised health, advanced nanomaterials, and engineering biology.

Expert workshops are an integral part of the project:

  • Collaborative platforms for advancing engineering biology: Focus on the COVID-19 pandemic (29 July 2020)
    This online workshop explored the potential of engineering biology to reshape the landscape of health innovation and enable the faster development of vaccines and diagnostics. Hosted by the United States and supported by the US National Science Foundation and University of California-San Francisco, the event focused on the role of biofoundries, training and diversity, and public-private partnerships in generating large numbers of candidate molecules of vaccines, diagnostics and antibodies. It became clear that there is an opportunity and necessity for policy makers to write engineering biology roadmaps to embrace the possibility of future pandemics. Critically the issue will be the ability to mobilise large resources rapidly. 

  • Collaborative platforms for innovation in advanced materials, (4-5 November 2019, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Braga, Portugal)
    Among the themes addressed at this workshop were the goals, funding and access to collaborative platforms, forms of collaboration and IP, their role in market formation and market structuring as well as the impact of technology trends on platforms for advanced materials.

  • Collaborative platforms for personalized health: realizing the potential of genomics and biobanks (17-18 September 2019, Stockholm, Sweden)
    This workshop re-examined the institutional arrangements and business models underlying collaborative platforms in genomics and biobanks for personalized health. It pooled ideas and best practices from representatives of major national and international platforms in genomics and biobanks, and from a diverse range of experts at the triple interface between IP and data policy, business, health systems.

For further information please contact the BNCT Secretariat.