STEPS blog: best of 2014

We can hardly believe it, but it’s nearly the end of 2014. To mark the occasion, the STEPS Centre communications team has picked 12 of our favourite blog posts by STEPS members, one from each month of the year. Choosing them has been a difficult task, as there’s been a lot to write about our…

Innovation choices in the face of uncertainty

Professor Andy Stirling writes chapter accompanying the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s inaugural report Sir Mark Walport recently launched his first ever annual report as UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Innovation: Managing risk not avoiding it. The accompanying evidence and case studies includes a chapter written by Professor Andy Stirling, Co-Director of the ESRC-funded STEPS Centre,…

The precautionary principle must be retained, unless we are willing to be reckless with our common future

Guest blog by Rupert Read I recently submitted evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry on GM food and the Precautionary Principle. Unfortunately, as you’ll see intimated at the outset of my remarks there, I have relatively little faith in the inquiry. It seems to me that the inquiry’s terms have…

Genetically modified rice plants

GM Food and the precautionary principle

“Precaution does not necessarily mean a ban. It simply urges that time and space be found to get things right.” Professor Andy Stirling, writing in the Guardian Overview The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee is carrying out an inquiry into genetically modified (GM) foods and the way in which these are regulated in Europe…

FEEDING THE FUTURE? THE FORESIGHT REPORT ON FOOD AND FARMING

By John Thompson and Erik Millstone, STEPS Centre Food and Agriculture Co-Convenors A new report from the UK Government-commissioned study into Global Food and Farming Futures has called for urgent action to improve food security in the UK and around the world and to avert global hunger. The Foresight report on The Future of Food…

PUBLISHED TODAY – NEW BOOK ON RICE BIOFORTIFICATION BY SALLY BROOKS

The latest in the STEPS Centre’s Pathways to Sustainability book series is published today – Rice Biofortification: Lessons for Global Science and Development by Sally Brooks. Biofortification, the enrichment of staple food crops with essential micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin A – has been heralded as a uniquely sustainable solution to the problem…

MILLSTONE ON THE ETHICS OF GM CROP DEVELOPMENT

By Julia Day Under what circumstances could the trajectory of GM crop development become beneficial for poor farmers? Erik Millstone explored this idea at recent Royal Society of Chemistry meeting, entitled: Genetic modification: solution or problem? Erik’s presentation (below) asks – and answers – the key question: are the GM crops currently available, and those…

BEYOND BIOSAFETY

In developing countries, debates around transgenic crops have tended to focus on biosafety and its regulation at the risk of ignoring broader ethical concerns. A new project by the STEPS Centre, is exploring how to open-up these debates among civil society actors. The Institute of Development Studies has featured an article by Sally Brooks, convenor…

NATURE ARTICLE ON GM FROM STEPS

Ian Scoones, co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre and Dominic Glover of the Technology and Agrarian Development Group at Wageningen University have written an article in this week’s Nature magazine (August 13) which explores the fallout of a new book on agricultural biotechnology in Africa. Scoones and Glover take a look at the Robert Paarlberg’s…