RECIPES' co-creative process and needs assessment results

From May 2020 to January 2021, the RECIPES team has engaged in a co-creative process to identify needs and ideas for guidelines and tools to support the future application of the precautionary principle. Needs expressed by stakeholders during this process relate to participation, to the organisation of expertise and to the extent of application of the precautionary principle.

Analysis of the case studies

To fully understand the complexities and the controversies around the application of the precautionary principle, the RECIPES project conducted nine case studies. The aim was to understand and explain the potential differences in the application depending on the topic and the context. A comparison across the different cases indicates that the application of the precautionary principle had positive effects on innovation and contributed to more responsible pathways.

Taking stock of the precautionary principle since 2000

The precautionary principle is supposed to enable decision-makers to adopt precautionary measures even if scientific uncertainties about environmental and health risks remain. However, opinions about the precautionary principle are divided. To some, it is unscientific and an obstacle to progress. To others, it is a necessary tool to protect human health and the environment.

Case Study on CRISPR-based gene drives

About the case

Synthetic gene drives based on the CRISPR-cas9 genetic engineering method could be used to spread artificially modified genes through wild populations faster. The main promise of this technology is that it spreads itself: the gene drive is inherited by each next generation of offspring. This could make it possible to enhance, suppress or perhaps even eliminate a population. So far, CRISPR-cas9 based gene drives research has been limited to the lab, and has focused mainly on mosquito species that transmit malaria.