5 November 2004

Biotechnology Australia and The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience will host a free public forum discussing the future impact of biotechnology on our society.

To be held on Sunday 7 November the Biotechnology 2020 Forum will highlight some applications and raise important concerns about the use of biotechnology by our society, as well as enable public participation through the use of Digi-vote technology.

Chair of the Forum and Institute for Molecular Bioscience's Director of Ethics and Public Policy Professor Wayne Hall said implementation of intelligent public policy for new and emerging biotechnologies required an informed and engaged public.

"This is a great opportunity for the public to learn about new technologies only just beginning to appear on our horizon, consider possible pros and cons and offer some immediate feedback," he said.

Biotechnology Australia's Mr Craig Cormick said the audience had an opportunity to glimpse into the future, and to then consider which of the scenarios they wanted to be part of.

"We have assembled a top quality panel with experts in the areas of the products and developments, medical science, community concerns, developing countries perspectives and future concerns," he said.

"To increase audience interaction and provide the opportunity for people to 'voice their opinions' the forum will use the Digi-Vote system, allowing the audience to vote on what they see as benefits or risks, what their priorities for biotechnology developments are, or what they feel might be useful or harmful applications of biotechnology.

"There is also the added benefit for the panellists of receiving immediate feedback about community attitudes toward various application of biotechnology, rather than reading survey results."

The Forum will commence at 7:30pm on Sunday 7 November in the Queensland Bioscience Precinct Auditorium (UQ Building 80), Chancellor's Place, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane.

ENDS

Fast Facts

Chaired by the Institute for Molecular Bioscience's Director of the Office of Public Policy Professor Wayne Hall the panel includes:

Future Concerns
Mr Jeremy Trager
Greenpeace Australia

Social concerns and risk perception
Dr Janet Grice
School of Social Sciences
The University of Queensland

What is in the pipeline
Professor Linda Blackall
Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Centre

New products we might see
Dr Greg Harper
Novel Products
CSIRO Livestock Industries

Medical advances
Professor David Hume
Institute for Molecular Bioscience
The University of Queensland

Developing country perspectives
Professor James Dale
Science Research Centre
The Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation
Queensland University of Technology

Admission to the Forum is free.

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