Innogen · News · May 16, 2013

Innogen contributes to final ESRC Genomics Network conference

Innogen contributes to final ESRC Genomics Network conference

The ESRC Genomics Network (EGN) hosted its final conference on 30 April – 1 May in London

The ESRC Genomics Network (EGN) hosted its final conference on 30 April – 1 May in London. Entitled Genomes and societies: global challenges around life sciences, the conference celebrated the EGN’s decade long dedication to examining the social and economic impacts resulting from the development and use of life science technologies.

Drawing upon its breadth of work in the UK and internationally, Innogen played an integral role in the conference’s analysis of the EGN’s successful facilitation of links between life science, policy development and society.

  • Professor Joanna Chataway spoke during the opening plenary on What’s special about scientific advice, governance and policy-making in the life science?, giving a presentation that drew upon her cross-cutting Open University and RAND Europe impact, and discussing the reasons and rationales for public and private collaboration in stratified medicine.
  • Prof Iain Gillespie and Dr Jane Calvert participated in the second day's opening plenary on The past, present and future of Responsible Innovation, speaking about "A focus on the 'innovation' in Responsible Innovation" and "Responsible research and innovation in Synthetic Biology", respectively.
  • Drs Peter Robbins and Farah Huzair contributed to the plenary on The “people legacy” of the Genomics Network by exploring Innogen’s strengths in training scholars working to find solutions to real world challenges at regional, national and international levels.
  • In the plenary on The EGN Impact Agenda – How the Genomics Network has influenced policy debate and understanding in relation to the life sciences, Professor Joyce Tait introduced Dr Michael Oborne, former Director of Strategic Foresight at the OECD, who discussed Innogen’s contributions to the three year OECD Futures project on ‘The Bioeconomy to 2030.’
  • Professor David Castle discussed Innogen’s future plans as the Institute for Innovation Generation in the Life Sciences in the final plenary on the prospective futures of the former EGN centres.

Innogen also offered two specialised sessions at the conference. Chaired by Prof David Wield and led by Innogen OU colleagues, Drs Rebecca Hanlin, Julius Mugwagwa and Geoff Banda, the first on Global Health and Development; discussed Innogen’s work on the role of policy and decision-making systems in health system strengthening (Mugwagwa), capacity building through global health partnerships (Hanlin), and finance and African local pharmaceutical manufacture (Banda). The session also featured an external response from Dr Dermot Maher, International Portfolio Manager at the Wellcome Trust, who underscored Innogen’s contributions in this area and the need for continued research capacity strengthening and equitable partnerships.

Prof Chataway chaired Innogen’s second session on the Governance of New Technologies, which featured a discussion of Innogen’s work on upstream and downstream regulation by Prof Tait, and measuring the drug development performance of biopharmaceutical firms by Dr Alessandro Rosiello. The session also included presentations from Alastair Kent OBE, Director of Genetic Alliance UK, on proportionate regulation and Edward Godber, former Senior Vice President of Evidence, Value and Innovation at GlaxoSmithKline, on regulation, lags and culture; each also commending Innogen’s leadership in developing advice for smart and adaptive governance of innovative technology.

Dr Ann Bruce also contributed to Cesagen's session on Future Food with a presentation on refining future meat production and the role of genetics.

The conference concluded with a response from Professor Paul Boyle, CEO of the ESRC, who spoke of the EGN’s place as the most significant group of centres in the world for social scientific research on the life sciences.

To read more about these and other sessions at the EGN Conference 2013, please visit the conference blog at

Prof Joanna Chataway

Dr Peter Robbins

Dr Farah Huzair

Prof David Castle

Prof David Wield

Dr Rebecca Hanlin

Dr Julius Mugwagwa

Dr Geoff Banda

Prof Joyce Tait

Dr Alessandro Rosiello

Dr Jane Calvert

Prof Iain Gillespie

Dr Ann Bruce