Welcome to the Genomics Forum blog

Based at The University of Edinburgh, the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum is part of the ESRC Genomics Network and pioneers new ways to promote and communicate social research on the contemporary life sciences.

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Townhall Meeting in the Global Townhall

After a successful ESRC Genomics Network conference in Pairs, Prof Steve Yearley, Genomics Forum blogs on the Closing debate – How to Deliver the promise: Where to next?

The closing session of the conference was advertised as a townhall-style meeting, based on the US tradition of public meetings in which politicians and other public figures have to answer to remarks from the floor with no prior warning and no scripted questions. In the US these meetings conjure up the idea of a politician with their jacket off, sleeves rolled up, engaging ferociously with the audience.

Instead of President Obama or the Tea Party, we had four of our own public figures: Dr Gerardo Jiménez-Sánchez, chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Biotechnology; Rick Johnson, CEO of Global Helix LLC from the USA and a key figure in the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to OECD; Prof Joyce Tait, Scientific Advisor to Innogen; and Prof John Dupre, Director of Egenis. The session was energetically chaired by the OECD’s Iain Gillespie and, in true townhall style, there was no shortage of comments from the audience and some real clashes between speakers’ views.