EU Workshop on Access and Benefit Sharing under Nagoya Protocol

More info and registration here


The EU is a Party to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation. The EU ABS Regulation, which transposes into the EU legal order the compliance pillar of the Protocol, became applicable as of 12 October 2014. The principal obligations of the Regulation – i.e. Article 4 on due diligence, Article 7 on monitoring user compliance and Article 9 on checks on user compliance – will become applicable as of 12 October 2015. In this context it is important that those who utilise genetic resources (i.e. conduct research and development on the genetic and/or biological composition of genetic resources, including through the application of biotechnology) are aware of the obligations arising from the Regulation, and that they can take the necessary measures to ensure their activities are compliant.

Workshop presentation

The workshop aims at providing the participants with knowledge about their obligations under the EU ABS Regulation and what they practically imply for their everyday work. In the first part of the workshop, the new legal framework will be explained, providing insight into the main provisions of the EU ABS Regulation. In the second part of the workshop, participants will have a chance to put the knowledge gained into practice through interactive case studies, based on real-life examples and realistic scenarios. The workshop should allow participants to better understand their obligations under the EU law, and to establish which steps they need to follow and which practical measures they should take when dealing with genetic resources originating from Parties to the Nagoya Protocol.

Target group

The workshop is targeted at senior academics and experienced researchers conducting research and development on genetic resources who have an interest in gaining an essential understanding of the new legal framework in the EU, in view of the ABS Regulation becoming fully operational later this year.

Scientists with an expertise in the ABS regulation are not targeted by this basic training workshop

Call for participation in Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology (apply ASASP)

As part of its innovation development programme, SynbiCITE, is pleased to offer all its partners the opportunity to participate in the Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology. You can now take part in this unique programme that has helped numerous would-be entrepreneurs translate research ideas into successful products and services. Translating research from the laboratory to the market place – takes more than just improving technology. It requires a parallel track of optimizing the other parts of the business that are essential for turning an idea into a profitable company.

The Lean LaunchPad for Synthetic Biology does this by helping teams rapidly:

· Define the utility of the idea before committing resources to develop it.

· Understand who their core and tertiary customers are, and the sales and marketing process required for initial sales and downstream commercialisation.

· Assess intellectual property and regulatory risk early in the process.

· Know what data will be required by future partnerships/collaborations/purchases before doing the science.

· Identify the financing vehicles before you need them.

The Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology is based on the Lean Launchpad programme, developed by Steve Blank in Silicon Valley. This program has been taught at Stanford, Berkley, Columbia and Caltech, and is being adopted by US NSF as part of its i-Corps curriculum. The programme was run earlier this year at Imperial College and was highly successful launching new companies and products, and teaching entrepreneurship.

The Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology is a ten-week long programme for 3-person teams interested in commercialising research. The programme starts on September 15 with a 3-day kickoff, and followed by nine weekly meetings, and a 2-day wrap up session on November 23-24. You will need to commit to 20 hours per week in addition to class time for this programme to be successful. The course content includes Customer Discovery and Development methods, the Business Model Canvas and topics specific to the commercialisation of synthetic biology. The goal of the programme, within the constraints of a classroom and a limited amount of time, is to create the entrepreneurial experience of an early stage start-up. Supporting each team will be a mentor, an entrepreneur or executive with deep business experience, to provide guidance.

The course will be led by Professor Jerry Engel, the Director of the NSF i-Corp programme and

Founding Executive Director Emeritus, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship at UC Berkley’s Haas School of Business. He also has over 20 years experience and success in high technology entrepreneurship and venture capital. The teaching faculty will include entrepreneurs and investors who have successfully translated scientific research into commercial products and services.

If you have an idea you want to exploit, identify its commercial potential, discover customers, collaborators and investors to realise your dreams this is the programme is for you.

Entrance is very limited. Applicants apply as teams, not individuals. The teams are required to tell us about themselves using the “Team Information” template. They also must submit a completed Business Model Canvas using the “Business Model Information” template based on a minimum of 5 interviews. Those who are interested fill in the “Lean LaunchPad Application” form, which is available from Jenny (

We strongly encourage you to apply ASAP.

If you would like more information or arrange a visit to discuss the programme please contact:

OpenPlant Fund: Perfect Pitch on a Punt, 23 Jul 16:00-19:30

PitchOnaPuntPoster-newCome and join potential OpenPlant Fund applicants from Norwich and Cambridge to hone your pitches, network and enjoy punting and a picnic by the Cam (wet weather option also available!).

30 spaces are bookable below (logged-in users only, email if you prefer not to make an account) and the event will take place at The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge.

A minibus will leave Norwich at 14:30 and depart from Cambridge at 19:30, please email Jenny on to secure your place!

[dpProEventCalendar id="9" category="32" event="1000"]

Image credit: Punting by Jussarian on Flickr. Licensed under CC-BY-SA

GARNet-OpenPlant CRISPR-Cas Workshop: 7-8 September, John Innes Centre, Norwich

CRISPR technology is fast emerging as the breakthrough technology for precise genome editing in a range of experimental systems. In order to highlight the current developments and future potential for using this technology in the plant sciences, GARNet and OpenPlant are collaborating to organise a CRISPR-Cas workshop in Norwich on September 7–8th 2015 - click here for more details and to register:

The first day of the workshop is targeted at those wishing to learn the basics of CRISPR-Cas genome editing technology, as well as those who are already aware of it but wish to learn more about recent developments and advances. This is a day of conventional presentations mixed with opportunities for networking with fellow researchers interested in using this technology to benefit their research.

Speakers have been selected who work with a variety of plant species and will demonstrate the broad potential of CRISPR-Cas as a transformational technology in the plant sciences. Speakers include Holger Puchta (KIT, Germany), Bing Yang (Iowa State University, USA) and Vladimir Nekrasov (The Sainsbury Laboratory, UK). A full program will be available shortly.

An open access review describing this technology has been recently published by the event's organisers (link opens PDF):

The second day of the workshop on September 8th will be a 'hands on' in-silico session that will be limited to 22 attendees. This portion of the workshop will be led by Dr Nicola Patron who is Head of Synthetic Biology at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, and will provide participants with the opportunity to learn how to identify and pick genomic targets, build modular CRISPR constructs and screen edited plants.

Preference for this event on the 8th September will be given to early-career researchers who can clearly illustrate how this event would benefit their research. People interested in attending the second day of the workshop should contact Ruth Bastow explaining how they might use this technology in their research.

For further discussions and networking opportunities a Conference Dinner will take place after the first day of the workshop and is available to all attendees, whether or not they are participating in the second day of the event.

For those requiring accommodation, a block booking of rooms has been made at Broadview Lodge. To book a room either call 01603 591930 or email Please quote 'GARNet Ref: Kx36312' when making your booking.

For any further questions about the workshop please contact Ruth or Nicola Patron.

Training course: Synthetic Biology: From pro- to eukaryotic systems (SYNBIOSYS)

Copenhagen Plant Science Centre PhD Summer Course

read more....

Synthetic biology is the engineering of biology: the deliberate (re)design and construction of novel biological and biologically based parts, devices and systems to perform new functions for useful purposes, that draws on principles elucidated from biology and engineering.

In this context prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms like bacteria (e.g. B. subtilis or E.coli), yeast, microalgae or plants are interesting since they hold the promise for truly sustainable production of high-value compounds like pharmaceutical, commodity chemicals or even fuels. Traditionally the organisms of choice for synthetic biology have been E. coli and yeast. However, in the future synthetic biology in plant science will have a great potential both for redirecting and engineering of new biosynthetic pathways as well as for improving yield of our crop plants. In this field, the University of Copenhagen is among the leading institutions.

Scientific content

  • Choice of organisms (chassis): (cyano-) bacteria (B. subtilis, E.coli, Synechocystis), yeast, algae, higher plants (chloroplasts).
  • The parts: Promoters for regulated expression, transcript and protein stabilization and modifications, vectors, neutral integration, DNA synthesis, flip elements for on-off gene expression regulation.
  • Cloning and high-through-put methodologies: cloning methods, gene stacking, gene replacements.
  • Bioreactors: types (closed, open ponds, etc.), designs of growth regimes (continuous versus batch), harvesting methods and product recovery.
  • Downstream processing: product extraction, stabilization and quality control
  • Ethics in synthetic biology.
  • Safety and regulations.
  • Intellectual property rights (IPR)


Price: 1500 DKK. Lunch and coffee/tea is included.

Registration: To register for the course please fill in the registration form and send to Lene Rasmussen

Summer School in Plant Microbe Interactions

In August this year, The Sainsbury Laboratory will be hosting it’s second Summer School in Plant Microbe Interactions. Running over two weeks from the 17th to the 28th we will cover key topics and techniques.


The TSL Summer School will feature extensive practical training in cutting edge techniques and stimulating discussions on the latest thinking and discoveries in the field, all led by our Group Leaders and their groups and exciting invited guest speakers. The course will be ideal for students new to the field and those looking to get an understanding of the breadth and quality of work across the whole of the Plant Microbe Interaction community.

More information can be found at

Johns Hopkins University launches online SynBio ethics course

About the Course

john-hopikins Synbio is a diverse field with diverse applications, and the different contexts (e.g., gain-of-function research, biofuels) raise different ethical and governance challenges. The objective of this course is to increase participants’ awareness and understanding of ethical and policy/governance issues that arise in the design, conduct and application of synthetic biology. The course will begin with a short history of recombinant DNA technology and how governance of that science developed and evolved, and progress through a series of areas of application of synbio. 

Course Syllabus

Optional Pre-work: Synthetic Biology Primer

Week 1: History of Recombinant DNA

Week 2: Gain-of-Function Research

Week 3: Biofuels

Week 4: Environmental Remediation

Week 5: Human Health

Week 6: Governance

Content will be presented in many forms, including not only reading and lectures, but also recorded and live interviews and discussions with scientists, ethicists and policy makers. Learners will have the opportunity to think, write and talk about the issues and challenges in their own work and in real-life case examples. A final project will engage students in the development of governance models for synbio.

This 6-week course will consist of short (8-12 minute) topical modules that will be a combination of lecture, video content, recorded group discussions and interviews.  Each module includes 1-3 integrated quiz and discussion questions. 

Recommended Background

This course is targeted to trainees and professionals in synthetic biology, though others familiar with the science may also find the course interesting, accessible and useful. All materials are in English, so English reading and speaking proficiency is necessary.

Full details can be found here.

Biotechnology YES competition - closes 29 May 2015

The Biotechnology YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) is a competition that provides training via presentations from leading figures in the biotechnology industry on all aspects of technology transfer and the commercialisation of bioscience ideas. This knowledge is then used by participants to prepare an oral business plan presentation for an ‘imaginary’ biotech start-up company. Participating teams present their business plan to a panel of business, financial and academic representatives taking the role of ‘Dragon’s Den’ style venture capitalists. Two teams from each workshop are selected to progress through to the final, where winners of the competition receive £2,500.

The MRC sponsors the competition to allow MRC-funded students and early career researchers to compete. There is a specific stream for participants with biomedical projects. We encourage you to make the most of this opportunity to raise your awareness of the commercialisation of bioscience ideas.

For more details and how to apply, visit the biotechnology YES pages.