Synthetic biology – does industry get it?

  • Posted on 19 June, 2017

As part of the conference series ‘Breakthrough science and technologies: transforming our future’, the Royal Society hosted a conference posing the question ‘Synthetic biology – does industry get it?’. Organised by Prof Paul Freemont (ICL), Prof Ben Davis (Oxford) and Steve Bates (BIA), the event brought together nearly 200 experts from academia, industry and government to provide an honest and open appraisal of how industry is using synthetic biology, acknowledging successes and strengths but also looking at what barriers still need to be overcome.

The Royal Society has recently released a comprehensive conference report from this event, summarising the discussions that took place and the key points raised.

Issues such as the global energy challenge, regulation and public acceptance of synthetic biology, and finding the right talent and skills were all raised. However, in answer to the question ‘Does industry get it?’, the answer was clear – yes. Despite a lingering hesitancy leading to a delay in wide-spread implementation, there is great interest in the field of synthetic biology.

Despite inevitable unanswered questions, requiring further fundamental research, optimism is well justified. The general feeling at the conference was that the time of rapid growth in industrialisation of synthetic biology is nearly here, and there is much to look forward to.

The full report can be read here.