Special Topics in Biosafety Training: Insects, Vaccines and Stress-Tolerant Plants, 16-20 Aug 2011

Tromso, Norway, Tuesday 16th August 2011 to Saturday 20th August 2011
Specialist course 2011

Specialist Course 2011


Special Topics in Bisoafety Training: Insects, Vaccines and Stress-Tolerant Plants, Tromso, Norway, 16 – 20 August 2011 


The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety seeks to protect biodiversity from the potential hazards created by the use and dissemination of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) – more often referred to as “Genetically Modified Organisms” (GMOs) – while taking into account human health (including food safety) and socio-economic considerations. Implementation of biosafety regulation is therefore the focus of many countries to establish such safeguards. However, the process of implementing the Protocol has unveiled a limited capacity for a science-based hazard identification necessary to perform risk assessments, and a holistic understanding of the policy, legal, regulatory, ethical, economic and social dimensions, needed for decision making. Since 2003 GenØk has offered a broad introductory course on hazard identification and risk assessment to fill the capacity gap. In 2009, we held the first specialist course, designed to cover emerging issues in greater detail.

About the course

The 2011 specialist course will give special training in three new classes of GMOs that are about to enter the regulatory systems of many countries: abiotic stress tolerant GM crops, GM insects and GM vaccines. The mechanisms, potential benefits, and risk pathways associated with these new bioinnovations differ strikingly in many ways compared to today’s more common GMOs (e.g. herbicide resistant or insecticidal crops).
The course aims to give participants balanced information and an introduction to the tools required to evaluate these new technologies, from their own perspective and for their country’s needs.

The curriculum includes sections on:

  • biological and ecological mechanisms
  • legal frameworks
  • social and ethical issues
  • environmental and health issues
  • risk assessment procedures, and
  • decision-making processes.

A combination of plenary lectures and interactive sessions, with support from the Biosafety Assessment Tool, will form the basis of the course. Participants will also attend the open conference, “Tough Choices – new biosafety decisions in high stakes arenas” following the course (22-24 August).

Eligibility and selection process

GenØk will sponsor 40 participants from developing countries (defined as nations receiving official development assistance, ODA – see list, here). The sponsorship will cover curricular materials, course-associated travel, visa-fees, accommodation and meals. Prior attendance to GenØk’s introductory Biosafety Assessment Training Course, or demonstration of equivalent experience in biosafety, is prerequisite.

The course application form must be filled out entirely.

Essential information from the applicant:

  • the nature and level of position currently held
  • basis of interest in the course
  • a brief CV
  • a short abstract, from which the applicant may be chosen to present a poster or a talk at the associated conference. Please send your abstract as a MS word document attached to an email to bengilna.genok@gmail.com Please make sure your name is given on the abstract.
  • a short (250 words) report on the current conditions, issues and prospects for biosafety in their country. Some participants will be chosen to present such ‘country reports’ in an evening session in the course.

The working language of the course will be English and applicants should be able to work sufficiently well in that language for both oral and written communication. 

Gender, occupation and regional criteria are used in the selection of participants in order to achieve representational balance. The selection committee usually completes the selection by 1 May.

Applications are due by 1 April 2011 (24:00 Central European Time). 

To apply online click here

Download application form (Word) for sponsored participants.

Download registration form (Word) for self-financed participants.

Course + conference – self-financed participants
GenØk offers 15 additional places available to participants from all countries that are able to secure their own sponsorship/funding. Previous participation in GenØk courses is not required, but candidates should have extensive experience from biosafety work to take full advantage of the material covered in this course. 

The course/conference fee of USD 1200 (USD 1100 if registered before 16 May) includes curricular materials, lunch (8 days), opening/farewell ceremony, conference fee, and local transport. In addition, self-financing participants will also have to pay for their travel and accommodation (course/conference hotel NOK 1195/night (approx. USD 170) incl. breakfast and dinner buffet). A list of alternative accommodation can be provided. Applications for self-financed places should be submitted no later than 12 June 2011. The places are allocated on a first-come–first-served basis. Participants must be prepared to pay the course fee when registering.

Conference only – self financed participants

The conference is open to all. For more information and registration click here.

Funding from the Norwegian Government (NORAD) makes this program possible.



Reports / Analysis

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