PGET Forum Materials
The rapid development of human genome editing technologies has raised significant questions about these tools’ potential and proper applications and societal impacts; as well as broader practical and philosophical questions of authority, governance, and future-making around technological innovation in society. Expert bioethics and policy discourse about genome editing has exploded in the last five years. High-profile expert statements and major consensus reports from the German Ethics Council, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics have stressed the importance of forward-looking policy development and deliberative public engagement to guide the future of human genome editing.
In response to this need, a team from Baylor College of Medicine, Arizona State University, and the Museum of Science Boston (MOS), supported by the National Institutes of Health, worked with citizens and expert stakeholders to understand the driving forces behind human genome editing (HGE) research. The team developed a series of public deliberations around the ethics and governance of genome editing, and plan to use those results to inform policy. You can learn more about the project here and here.
What you’ll find here
While developing these public deliberations, the team created materials that can have a life outside of the project – in classrooms, public engagement spaces, and beyond. What follows are links to each of the assets as well as some ideas for ways in which they could be used and an estimated time to expect to spend on each activity.
The forum, or public deliberation, was originally developed as a means to collect public attitudes, hopes, and concerns around human genome editing technologies and its governance. In its entirety, the forum is designed to run 6 hours including a lunch and two breaks. It is also intended to be facilitated, meaning that each small group of 5 to 7 participants will have a trained facilitator to moderate the discussion. The full details on how to hold the forum in its original form, including event logistics and recruitment, are included in the Manual in the Full Forum download package.
We have some suggested cut down versions of the forum packaged below, but we also encourage you to get to know the materials and pick the sections that work for you. If you are choosing to use the character cards at any point, know that they build upon each other and so reading later parts without first reading earlier parts would present a challenge and may require some editing on your part.
One essential part to conducting these conversations in any form is using the “Discussion Guidelines” which create a social contract between participants and ensures disagreements can occur in a constructive manner.