Meeting of Young Minds

Together with the Rathenau Institute, our team organized one of the two debate rounds at the event Meeting of Young Minds. This debate took place on October 5h, the Friday of the Jamboree. The topic of this debate was about the release of research details on the creation of highly transmissible H5N1 (bird flu) in the lab. This topic was subdivided into three statements.

  • The NSABB made the right choice to give permission for publication of this research
  • Looking at the potential risks, this research should not have started in the first place
  • Scientific research may never be censored.

The experts who were invited to talk during this debate were
  • Prof. Hans Westerhoff, an expert on synthetic biology from the VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Koos van de Bruggen, from the workgroup biosecurity KNAW,
  • Dr. Sander Herfst and Dr. Martin Linster, from the Erasmus MC who worked on the H5N1 research
  • Dr. Robin Pierce, expert on Law and regulations from the TU Delft
  • Pieter van Boheemen, iGEM 2010 alumnus and part of the Dutch Do-it-Yourself Biotechnology group
  • Mark Ruitenbeek, chairman of the VWS CDJA (a Dutch youth political party)

During this debate the public was asked to vote before and after each statement if they agreed or disagreed with the statement. It was very interesting to see that a few people did change their minds after they heard the discussion between the experts and our team.

The second round the iGEM team of UCL was hosting another debate about a future scenario disaster caused by synthetic bacteria that has mutated, which was also a very interesting debate. Those two debates were also judged by an independent jury, and have chosen our team as the WINNER of the MEETING OF YOUNG MINDS 2012!!!

To get an impression of the debate, click here