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Genome Editing

The EASAC report was published in May 2017 and discussed further in an article in the journal eLife.

Follow up work is continuing to engage with the European Institutions, for example with regard to the opportunities for applying genome editing in innovative plant and animal breeding, and the implications for regulatory frameworks. EASAC is also helping to inform the wider international debates on genome editing, for example with the academies of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), and as an input to discussions about the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

One other major follow up initiative is the organisation of an international workshop, together with the US National Academies, IAP and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, in October 2017 on “Assessing the security implications of genome editing technology”. This workshop explores potential concerns arising from intentional misuse of the technology, and the strategies that may aid the scientific and security communities in preventing or mitigating those risks.

Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture

EASAC is conducting the European regional phase of a global IAP project in parallel with the three other regional academy networks within IAP (NASAC for Africa, AASSA for Asia and IANAS for the Americas). The EASAC draft report recently completed its peer review procedures and will be published and launched in autumn 2017. The EASAC regional conclusions will also feed into other relevant activities at the EU level, for example the European Commission’s Food2030 strategy.

In addition, EASAC outputs will help to inform the IAP global phase of the project work and EASAC Working Group representatives met recently with scientists from the other regional Working Groups (information here). The global phase of the project will report in mid-2018 and it is anticipated that a high level of EASAC activity will continue to help stimulate international discussion, for example at the World Science Forum in Jordan in November 2017.

 

Homeopathy

The EASAC Working Group on Homeopathy completed its discussion in early 2017 and a Statement is to be published in September 2017. This Statement summarises the evidence-based assessments of scientific and medical claims for homeopathy and recommends changes in regulatory, labelling and marketing practices. Planning is underway for dissemination and follow up of key messages at the EU and national levels.

 

Climate Change and Health

EASAC has a significant tradition of interest in climate change issues across the Programmes, and the Biosciences Programme published on climate change and infectious disease in 2010. Following discussion by the Biosciences Steering Panel in late 2016, a project has been initiated to examine the range of issues for climate change and human health in Europe. It is intended both to clarify how to resolve current uncertainties in the evidence base and how to implement knowledge in a supportive EU health policy framework that also ensures integration of strategy across all relevant sectors.

An initial scoping discussion was held with DG Sante, and a Working Group of experts nominated by EASAC academies is now being formed. We expect to complete the project during 2018. We recognise that there are various other groups active in this area and it will be an important early task for the EASAC project to ensure appropriate linkages and awareness to enable EASAC to add value to what has already been achieved elsewhere.

 

Update: August 2017

 

For further information on any of these projects please contact:

secretariat@easac.eu