Synenergene Collaboration

After our meetings with Susan Deacon and Anna Ross, we had a better idea of how our biosensor could be implemented in both the private and public sectors.This sounded all well and good on paper, but just as were beginning to learn in the lab, theory and practice are two very different things; nothing goes according to plan. Indeed, it was not sufficient to simply identify potential markets for our biosensor; rather, we needed to consider potential obstacles that may present themselves if our biosensor were to be actually introduced to these markets.

Fortunately, we were one of eight teams selected worldwide for a collaboration with, and grant from, the European Union initiative ‘Synenergene’, whose purpose is to facilitate an open dialogue between synthetic biology, the public and wide variety of stakeholders in order to promote a mutually beneficial understanding of each other’s goals and needs. With their help, we learned to work through hypothetical scenarios in order to construct a theoretical framework for the real-world implementation of our biosensor.

After a series of skypes with the entire Synergene panel, each team was allocated a specific supervisor. Our team was assigned to Dr. Laurens Landeweerd, a philosophy assistant professor at Radboud University Nijmegen’s Institute for Science Innovation and Society and researcher at Delft University of Technology (section Biotechnology&Society).

Dr. Landeweerd suggested that we should first consider dilemmas of a practical nature, which we may call ‘application scenarios’. Examples of these include situations where our biosensor provides inaccurate results, or faces legal/manufacturing difficulties. Click on the link below to read our report about application scenarios, which also doubles as our Safety page.