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This subject involves case studies of biotechnology innovations that are hindered by a barrier of significant public distrust, the prime example being genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Newer biotechnologies such as precision gene editing may face analogous barriers. This subject explores (i) the scientific context of such controversial innovations, (ii) social implications that may restrict them from making a beneficial contribution to society, and (iii) strategies needed for successful deployment.
Intended learning outcomes
At the completion of this subject students should be able to:
- articulate an evidence based scientific assessment of the context, risks, and potential benefits of selected biotechnology innovations;
- appreciate that without effective and pro-active outreach by innovators, potential benefits from new biotechnologies are likely to be lost to society;
- anticipate factors that can drive active rejection of technologically viable innovations by diverse sectors of society;
- have developed an understanding of why scientific evidence and argument by itself may be insufficient to overcome barriers to commercialisation of innovations such as GMOs.
At the completion of this subject students should gain:
- experience in examining critically, synthesising and evaluating knowledge across a range of disciplines;
- expanded analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences relating to public policy and technological risk assessment; and
- knowledge to be active global citizens and accept social and civic responsibilities, and be advocates for improving the sustainability of the environment based on comprehensive and open-minded consideration of evidence.
Last updated: 11 December 2019