Building our Biofuture: Policy issues and opportunities for next generation biotechnologies

Building our Bio future: Policy issues and opportunities for next generation biotechnologies

Draft agenda

  • All session times reflect your computer's local time zone. 
  • All sessions will take place at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris. 
  • The welcome remarks, the policy perspectives and the keynote will be publicly livestreamed. To view all other sessions, participants will need to register. 


1 : April 22, 2024
08:00 - 08:30
Networking Coffee and Viennoiseries
Douglas Robinson, Master of Ceremony for the day and responsible for Synthetic Biology activity in the Global Forum on Technology will be available for any questions on content and logistics.
08:40 - 09:00
Policy perspectives: the promises and challenges of emerging technology
New technologies cannot be constrained within national borders, making international collaboration essential if we are to ensure their sustainable development and equitable access to their benefits. The OECD welcomes three high-level speakers, each coming from a different continent, to provide their own perspective on STI policy challenges and opportunities. Speaking from the unique approaches their regions are taking to fostering robust STI policies in emerging technologies, the session sets the scene by providing insights into the importance of fora like the OECD and the Global Forum on Technology for countries to engage in constructive conversations and strategic dialogue on emerging technologies and their potential impacts on society.
09:30 - 10:30
Panel 1 – Human health innovation and resilience
Synthetic biology is already revolutionising the field of health, whether by enabling customized treatments, novel vaccines, or new diagnostic tools. Yet even more innovations are to come, driven by new advancements in gene editing and the convergence with digital technologies like artificial intelligence. This panel will explore some of the technical and policy challenges (such as affordability, access, or and fragmented and complex regulation) which must be tackled responsibly to harness the power of synthetic biology and gene drives for saving lives.
10:30 - 11:30
11:30 - 12:30
Panel 2 – Agrifood and Environmental Resilience
Deteriorating soil health, rising temperatures and declining biodiversity are contributing to the growing environmental and food crises. How best to mobilise next generation biotechnology for these challenges? How to do so in a safe and synergistic way with nature-based solutions? What are the key drivers that will shape the deployment of biotechnology solutions and are our governance systems ready? This panel will explore the role next generation biotechnologies could play in addressing these – touching on innovations like soil microbiome engineering and lab-grown proteins – but also the policy challenges and the international efforts underway in the space.
12:30 - 13:30
Panel 3 – Anticipatory governance and responsible innovation
The rapid development pace of emerging technologies makes it challenging to implement timely and effective regulation. Anticipatory approaches, which take a forward-look to get ahead of technology developments and governance challenges, help build longer-term capacity to shape innovation more effectively and maximise the positive impacts of new technologies whilst mitigating the risks. This panel will deep-dive into how communities at the international level - including civil society - can be brought together to create an agile and adaptive anticipatory governance ecosystem.
13:30 - 13:45
13:45 - 14:10
Coffee break
14:10 - 14:30
The Transformative Potential of SynBio: A Perspective from Antheia Inc.
This presentation will trace the evolution of synthetic biology over the past two decades, providing a personal view from both the academic and industry perspective. It will showcase how it has become a general advanced manufacturing technology touching virtually every sector - from pharmaceuticals to agricultural to consumer products – and provide concrete examples of how Antheia is mobilising it to save lives.
14:30 - 15:30
Panel 4 - Sustainable production: the bioeconomy and beyond
A flourishing bioeconomy promises to tackle the grand challenge of the climate crisis. Marked by a shift towards bio-based feedstocks, localized manufacturing and onshoring of supply chains, it provides substantial advantages to local communities and could strengthen our societies’ resilience. However, scalability, workforce skills, and data infrastructures remain major challenges and must be addressed to build a vibrant, innovative industrial ecosystem.
16:00 - 17:30
Cocktail Reception