Post COVID-19 Implications for Genetic Diversity and Genomics Research & Innovation: A Call for Governance and Research Capacity

At a time of significant technological change and digitization in the biological sciences, the COVID19 pandemic has highlighted again the inequities in the research and innovation ecosystem. Based on a consultation with an internationally diverse group of stakeholders from multiple fields and professions, and on a broadly representative set of case studies, this report offers a new approach to the global governance of genetic diversity and genomic research and innovation.

Read the paper here

Resetting the Table: Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat




Robert Paarlberg’s RESETTING THE TABLE: Straight Talk about the Food We Grow and Eat (Knopf, February 2, 2021) is a bold, science-based corrective to the groundswell of misinformation about food and how it’s produced.

A descendant of Midwestern family farmers, Paarlberg examines in detail local and organic food, food companies, nutrition labeling, ethical treatment of animals, environmental impact, and every other aspect of the American food system from farm to table—and finds abundant reasons to disagree with the prevailing messaging to consumers to buy organic, unprocessed foods, sourced from small local farms. Global food markets have in fact improved the American diet. “Industrial” farming has greatly reduced environmental impact thanks to GPS-guided precision methods that cut energy use and chemical pollution, in addition to reducing land use while producing more crops. America’s very serious obesity crisis does not come from farms, or from food deserts, but from “food swamps” created by food companies, retailers, and restaurant chains. And, though animal welfare is lagging behind, progress can be made through continued advocacy, more progressive regulations, and perhaps plant-based imitation meat.

Paarlberg, an adjunct professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the author of Starved for Science, Food Politics, and The United States of Excess, offers evidence-based solutions to the challenges of our food system today, ones that make sense for farmers and consumers alike. With RESETTING THE TABLE, he gives us a road map through the rapidly changing worlds of food and farming, laying out a practical path to bring the two together.

New Technology and Conflicting Information: Assessing Consumers’ Willingness-to-pay for New Foods

The aim of the book is to make the authors’ scholarly research in the area of consumers’ willingness-to-pay for new foods that have controversial attributes easily assessable to other researchers, students, and food policy makers. It addresses issues that arise in a market with conflicting information from interested parties, scientific sources, and the media. It begins with a discussion of research methods and information issues. These results include how consumers respond to food products that are produced with new technology that lowers farmers’ costs of production, enhance nutrition and food safety for consumers, or adds variety to consumers’ food choices. These results arise from data collected in a series of laboratory experiments on adult subjects at various sites in the US and consumer surveys worldwide. The data include socio-demographic attributes of subjects, and their revealed willingness-to-pay in auctions of experimental foods and food products under randomly assigned food labels and information treatments and contingent-valuation survey data.

Call for contributions for the first European Bioeconomy University Scientific Forum.

The EBU Scientific Forum provides a platform for presenting EBU research, fostering networking and intensifying collaborations between scientists from the EBU alliance and selected partners of the EBU network.

We call for contributions for:

  1. a) Presentations and posters on thematic areas from bioeconomy research.
    b) Pitch sessions
    for presenting research topics and ideas to facilitate research cooperation.

Europe’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy, organic agriculture, and biotechnology

For more sustainability on a global level, EU legislation should be changed to allow the use of gene editing in organic farming. Otherwise, the planned increase of organic production in Europe’s Farm-to-Fork-Strategy may result in less sustainable, not more sustainable, food systems.

Open access paper: Purnhagen, K.P., S. Clemens, D. Eriksson, L.O. Fresco, J. Tosun, M. Qaim, R.G.F. Visser, A.P.M. Weber, J.H.H. Wesseler, D. Zilberman (2021). Europe’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy and Its Commitment to Biotechnology and Organic Farming: Conflicting or Complementary Goals? Trends in Plant Science,