Fifth Framework Programme - External Advisory Groups
The complete report is available as PDF-file: eag-gmo.pdf (370 Kb)
The EU's Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources research programme reflects in its activities the routine and widespread use of the techniques of modern biotechnology and potential applications of GM technologies. Although these appear to offer many potential benefits there is growing public concern and resistance to their use, in particular in the areas of agriculture and food. This situation led the External Advisory Groups of the programme to convene a workshop in order to canvass a wide range of opinions on GMO research, and to examine the questions and concerns, as a preparation to providing the Commission with advice on programme planning. The workshop thus brought together personalities from many different backgrounds and perspectives, including representatives of consumers' organisations, ecologists and industry.
The workshop identified a series of practical research lines where the Quality of Life Programme could clarify issues where GMOs appear to cause public concern. It also drew attention to the way in which research is carried out, how it is planned, who participates and who finances it, and stressed the overarching need for research activities to be better tuned to the needs and perceptions of society. Lastly, it called for closer contact and communication between the research community and society at large in order to establish mutual trust and to enable the best use to be made of scientific advance.
Such was the satisfaction with the constructive atmosphere generated that it was suggested to develop the workshop into a continuing informal forum in which to maintain and expand the dialogue, thereby ensuring that public interests and concerns continue to be clearly identified and addressed by EU research.