Want to discuss the societal, ethical, and regulatory challenges associated with CRISPR and other genetic technologies? Come to a BERGIT meeting!
The Berkeley Ethics and Regulation Group for Innovative Technologies (BERGIT) is an ideas exchange and a meeting ground for collaborations across disciplines to integrate ethics, regulation, and policy with science. Our goal is to provide space for discussion, facilitate opportunities, and instigate a proactive cultural shift in responsible innovation. BERGIT is hosted by the Innovative Genomics Institute and led by an interdisciplinary team with expertise in Ethics, Law, and Molecular Biology. Participants come from institutions around the SF Bay Area and beyond.
Please join our email list to hear about future meetings.
Executive Director, Center to Advance Science in Policy & Regulation
UC Berkeley & IGI
Science Communications Specialist
Innovative Genomics Institute
Date: Roughly two to three times a semester (see Upcoming Meetings below for dates)
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 pm PST
Remote Access: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for access to remote participation information.
The pace and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a rapid and concerted response from scientific and government institutions. Starting with the first sequenced viral genome, researchers embraced the open dissemination of scientific data in order to quickly address the growing public health crisis. In parallel, government entities reevaluated regulatory pipelines with the goal of streamlining the introduction of innovative technologies into the public. While this rapid response proved beneficial in many regards it was not without its concerns and shortcomings. This semester’s discussions will focus on the vetting and regulation of scientific data and innovative technologies, exploring how rapid responses can impact safety, trust, and our ability to overcome the pandemic.
Within weeks of the formal pandemic declaration, scientists began applying for newly established funding opportunities, pivoted their research focus towards COVID-19 questions, and began freely releasing their data. This fast pace was facilitated in part by the widespread adoption of preprint servers and motivated by a drive to understand and fix a growing public health crisis. Across diagnostic innovation, vaccine development, and contact tracing, advanced technologies were quickly moving out of labs and into testing. How do we balance speed and safety? Who controls the flow of information and where does responsibility reside during an unprecedented pandemic and beyond.
In early spring, over 100 vaccines began their journey through development and testing. The severity and magnitude of the global COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed an unprecedented race of innovation to develop novel vaccines with the goal of suppressing a growing public health crisis. As summer turns into fall, top candidates have entered phase 3 clinical trial testing. This race is not purely scientific, but also political. Recent decisions by the FDA, CDC, and other government agencies have raised concerns about veiled interests and hasty decisions. As the public looks for objective decision-making and clear communication, trustworthiness continues to degrade leaving people skeptical of quickly advancing vaccine developments. How can we ensure that those in charge of regulating data and deliverables remain shielded from politicization and reestablish trustworthiness?
We strive to make our events accessible and inclusive. The Innovative Genomics Institute Building is ADA accessible, and has a lactation room that visitors can use. For disability accommodation information and requests and/or access to the lactation room, please contact Kristy Nordahl at email@example.com or 510-664-7110.