The concept of synthetic biology is closely linked to the scientific agenda of systems biology. Systems biology provides the analytical framework in which synthetic biology operates. Much of current synthetic biology research is not new. However, there is an ethical debate linking systems biology to synthetic biology and a growing concern among members of our society on the principle of assembling artificial components to form a living organism.
WP8 aims to provide a forum for programme managers, policy makers, scientific experts, ethicists, social scientists and industrialists to explore together the current status of synthetic biology in the ERA, both in the scientific and ethical/societal aspects of the science; to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the European research community when compared with the US, and to design the appropriate mechanisms/vehicles to tackle the most urgent issues and promote ERA’s world leadership in synthetic biology.