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Science Policy Thomas Abraham. Science policy… Where science, politics, poverty, global power, business and economics clash

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Presentation on theme: "Science Policy Thomas Abraham. Science policy… Where science, politics, poverty, global power, business and economics clash"— Presentation transcript:

1 Science Policy Thomas Abraham

2 Science policy… Where science, politics, poverty, global power, business and economics clash ex.html ex.html

3 Science and global power A fast growing economy and a big military are essential elements of a country’s rise So is a rapidly growing base of scientific knowledge

4 Source: UNESCO



7 Science in China Aims to become an “innovation driven nation” by 2020 Plans to recruit over 2,000 foreign experts in next 5-10 years to work in China Incentives for Chinese researchers abroad to return home Raising of research and development expenditures from 1.5-2.5% by 2020

8 Priority areas for R and D Energy, water resources and environmental protection IT, advanced materials and manufacturing Biotechnologies Space and marine technology Basic science, frontier technology


10 The US response Obama administration’s investments in science and technology in the stimulus packages Funding for clean energy US university system still remains a world leader

11 Science, poverty and development In the 1950s and 60s, science was seen as way for poor countries to emerge quickly from poverty





16 What is genetic modification of a crop? Artificial insertion of genes into an organism to introduce a new characteristic: ie. the insertion of a bacterial gene into cotton to make it insect resistant; or insertion of genes to make crops resistant to drought Genetic modifications also occur naturally within species, but here are we are talking about modifications that would not normally happen eg between species

17 GM crops in the developing world Where science, scepticism, ethical and moral concerns and big business collide

18 The voice of science “Food and water shortages that already ravage the continent will only get worse, and GM technology offers a promising way to tackle poverty and poor agricultural productivity. The question is not whether countries there should adopt GM crops, but how quickly.” Editorial in Nature



21 Cultivation of GM Crops 1996-2009 (ISAAA)

22 USA64S,M,C,R, SB,squash, papaya Brazil21.4S,M,C Argentina21.3S,M,C India8.4C Canada8.2R,M,S, SB China3.7C, poplar, papayas, tomato, sweet pepper,petunia Paraguay2.2S South Arfica2.1M,S,C GM Crop cultivation (in millions of hectares) S= Soya, M= Maize, C= cotton SB= sugar beet

23 Area*Area GMProportion GM Soy906977% Maize1584226% Cotton331649% Rapeseed316.421% Sugarbeet4.4**0.59% Proportion of GM crops cultivated globally

24 GM Food : the case of Bt Brinjal in India Brinjal= aubergine

25 The story Brinjals are widely eaten in India, and has been part of the traditional diet for centuries An Indian company, Mahyco, in which Monsanto has a minority stake, developed a brinjal genetically modified with the addition of a gene from bacillus thurigiensis, a soil bacteria. Why? The gene protects it from a pest called the fruit and shoot borer. Reduces use of pesticide

26 Developed and tested over nine years Food safety tests were conducted on rats Enormous public controversy which saw NGOs, activists and farmers protesting the new crop Most agricultural scientists and the industry supporting it Government has asked for further studies





31 How do you cover an issue like this? General news reporters: By quoting people from both sides, but leaving the reader no wiser A business reporter: what does this means for the bio-tech industry in India, for Monsanto etc A science reporter?

32 Show me the evidence… If you say it is safe, show me the tests you have done If you say it is unsafe, what evidence do you have to back this up? What evidence is there from other countries? What is the science behind gene modification? Can the modified gene affect human beings? Can it affect other plants and animals?

33 Web Sources on bio tech GM watch an NGO against commercialised bio tech International Service for the Acquistion of Agri Biotech Applications. GMO Compass. EU funded site on GMO crops.


35 One page- due on May 21 golden-rice-qcould-save-a-million-kids-a-yearq golden-rice-qcould-save-a-million-kids-a-yearq, 9171,997586,00.html, 9171,997586,00.html -What is the current status of golden rice? -What are the arguments for and against? -What is the scientific evidence for and against? -Who are the experts in this area?

36 Science and development An introduction to the Sci-Dev website Username: jmsc6089 Password: 02052012

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