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Debate Seminar “Genetically Modified Organisms – broader perspectives”

dinsdag, 11 december, 2018 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Auditorium Qd


The invention of genetic transformation of plants in the early 1980s (Van Montagu and Schell, Ghent University) has resulted in one of the fastest adopted new technologies in the history of agriculture. (see for example ISAAA brief 53).

However, the deployment of these new techniques and of genetically modified organisms has also been subject to much public debate about anticipated benefits and potential risks. That debate has intensified over the years, in particular in Europe (See for exampleModern Biotechnologies in agriculture).

In this context, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) hosted in September 2017 a debate seminar on the role of modern biotechnology in the production of food, and the role of universities.

On 11 December 2018 the VUB will host a second debate seminar for VUB students and faculty. The topic of the debate will be “Genetically Modified Organisms – broader perspectives”.  The seminar will start with a documentary illustrating some views ‘in favour and against’, followed by some brief statements by faculty members and practitioners, to kick off the debate.  The aim of the seminar is to discuss the broader perspectives underlying the various views.

The seminar language will be English.


17.00: Welcome and Opening - Dr. John Pearson, Legal and Ethics Office on behalf of Prof. Karin Vanderkerken, Vice-rector for Research, VUB.
17.05: Documentary “Well Fed

18.00: Statements - Panel members:

  • Prof. Geert Angenon, Bioengineering Sciences Department, Faculty of Science and Bio Engineering Sciences, VUB
  • Frits Heinrich MA, MSc. (Oxon.), Research Group Social-Cultural Food Studies (FOST), Department of History, VUB.
  • Dr. Katia Pauwels, SCIENSANO

18.10: Debate

  • Moderator: Prof. Piet van der Meer, Biotechnology Regulation, Faculty of Science and Bio-Engineering Sciences, VUB; Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Law, Ghent University.

19.00: Closure.