Priority research areas

RootS: A Transdisciplinary Co-Lab for Responsible and Sustainable BioTechnoscience

Biotechnoscience is all research and development connected to modern biotechnologies and the engineering of life, including genome editing and synthetic biology.

RootS is a transdisciplinary collaborative (Co-Lab) working to ground the growth of biotechnoscience in Responsibility and Sustainability. We do this by conducting research, advisory work and capacity building on the philosophical, political and socio-ecological aspects and implications of the efforts to engineer life on Earth.

The RootS Co-Lab integrates life sciences, social sciences and humanities in transdisciplinary conversations and actions and is particularly committed to exploring creative forms of communication across various domains of knowledge. We aspire to involve diverse stakeholders in our work, including members of the public, policy communities, civil society organisations, scientists, entrepreneurs and research and innovation funders.

The RootS Co-Lab is a cross-cutting initiative supporting all of GenØks work.

Our current portfolio of active research projects includes:

  • The Agri/Cultures Project: a research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council’s FRIPRO programme for Young Research Talents focused on developing novel concepts, methods and empirical knowledge for understanding and assessing the complex relational networks embodied in and performed by agricultural biotechnologies.
  • biodiverSEEDy: a research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council’s Latin Amerika programme focused on combining art and science to explore the strengths, weaknesses and possible interconnections between in situ and ex situ models of crop biodiversity conservation, including work with indigenous maize farmers in Mexico and the global seed vault in Svalbard.
  • NewHoRRIzon: a pan-European collaborative and support action on responsible research and innovation (RRI). In this four-year project, we are co-designing RRI activities with organizations previously or currently supported by the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET); and Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy (FOOD) program lines of the European Commission Horizon 2020 framework program.
  • MarSynth: a research project that seeks to integrate principles and practices of responsible innovation into the development of new methods for synthetic biology (i.e. specialized enzymes necessary for isothermal room-temperature DNA assembly).

 Our current involvement in national and international policy advice includes work with:

  • Bioteknologirådet: The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board
  • IPBES: The International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
  • Applications for GMO Approvals: GenØks policy advice to national authorities

Contact: Fern Wickson