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Innogen Annual Conference 2006: Genomics for Development? The Life Sciences and Poverty Reduction

September 5 – September 6 2006

Venue: Regent's College, London


The sequencing of genomes such as the human, malaria and rice genomes were expected by some to make massive in-roads into ending hunger, disease and poverty. For some slow progress in useful application throws doubt on the Millennium Development Project's assertion that science and technology are fundamental to ending poverty and disease.

Despite the impressive scientific and technological advances and their promise, questions still remain about what tangible advances link science and technology policy with education, health or economic policies in developing countries where poverty reduction and development is needed. Has the rise of international life science networks and partnerships increased the access to necessary drugs, medicines, diagnostics, farming techniques and food? What impact does ever-increasing global connectedness have on regulation and industrial capabilities? Can genomic technology and life sciences innovation assist in building sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries and transitional economies?

These are the sorts of questions this conference aimed to address. During two days of intense debate this conference considered the following themes:

  • Rethinking agricultural science - What is the current impact of agricultural science in international development? Does it/should it exist as a separate field? What are the important areas of agricultural science that need attention to ensure genomics, the life sciences and innovation provide delivered solutions to those in developing and transitional economies?

  • Globalisation, the life sciences and health - Does the ever-increasing erosion of boundaries and borders impact how genomics, the life sciences and innovation are able to deliver useful healthcare solutions? How does this effect the development and/or maintenance of a country's health system?

  • Networks and partnerships - These concepts rebound throughout the international development field but what is their importance and how can they be bought to bare to ensure genomics, the life sciences and innovation are used to develop sustainable systemic forms of development? How are users and publics integrated into networks and partnerships?

  • Regulation - Does TRIPS, the WTO and other regulatory mechanisms really have an impact on the ability of genomics, the life sciences and innovation to provide sustainable solutions to drugs, medicines, diagnostics, farming techniques and food?

  • Industrial capabilities and development - What is the relationship between industrial policy, health/agriculture policy and economic development? Is a strong industrial base necessary for ensuring developments in genomics, the life sciences and innovation reach the people who need them?,1353,en.t4.html