Rathenau Institute meets the Norwegian Health Directorate and experts
On November 25, 2019, the Rathenau Institute welcomed the Norwegian Health Directorate and about 25 of their experts to The Hague. This meeting was set up to exchange ideas about cutting edge developments, ethical aspects and policymaking in the area of medical technology, biotechnology and digitalization of health care.
The Norwegian delegation consisted of members of the Health directorate and a group of expert advisors, with a background in medicine, genetics, ethics and law. The meeting proved to be an excellent opportunity for gaining further insight into stakeholder views on the precautionary principle.
Tijs Sikma and Rosanne Edelenbosch presented the RECIPES project, for which the Rathenau Institute is conducting two case studies. Tijs gave the Norwegians a general outline of the project and presented the conceptual core of the precautionary principle developed during work package 1 of. He also presented the results of the successful dialogue meeting with Dutch citizens on the precautionary principle. Rosanne discussed the Rathenau case on new gene-editing techniques. CRISPR-based gene drives has been hailed as a ‘gene editing revolution’, making genetic modification more specific, easy to use and broadly accessible. The question is if these new technologies are in fact actually different from the old, or whether it is just the societal and political debate that has changed. By zooming in on different applications of CRISPR for human health, Rathenau will research how CRISPR is associated with risks that are uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
Caution was thrown to the wind by the Norwegians when they offered the speakers a ‘Norwegian’ gift, the cheese slicer. This demonstrates how Europeans can have varying cultural appreciations of technology, as any Dutchman will tell you they themselves invented this handy tool.
Petra Verhoef | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org